Given the sheer size and the wide range of functions required, there are many and varied occupations employed across the Institutions of the EU.
Careers within the European Union are open to people from all educational backgrounds: Secondary School Education, Post-secondary Education and University Education
The European Union functions through its 11 Institutions, with the support of numerous Agencies and other bodies located around Europe.
If you are finishing school, going on to do further study and would like to work for the EU, you should keep up your language skills as the majority of traineeships and permanent roles require two EU languages.
Kevin Keary is Parliamentary Assistant to MEP Sean Kelly. He recieved his BA International in Spanish and Sociological Political Studies from NUI Galway. His job is based in Brussels where he has worked on projects such as the International Fund for Ireland.
What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?
Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?
How did you go about getting your current job?
I went about getting this job by becoming an intern in Jim Higgins’ MEP office after spending a while pestering him. Then, after I developed experience, I was able to apply for this post as Parliamentary Assistant.
I had a series of interviews with the prior staff of the MEP and also with the MEP himself, where I was questioned on my knowledge of European Union law and also my work ethic.
Describe a typical day?
A typical day begins with a meeting with the MEP to discuss the day’s agenda, followed by, typically a committee meeting, which could involve taking votes on certain issues. We could then have a lunch time meeting with visitors from Ireland, followed by an afternoon meeting with stakeholders such as farm and environmental groups.
In the evening there are usually further informal events, such as dealing with animal welfare. Other daily tasks would include researching important issues for the MEP, briefing them prior to meetings, assisting in drafting amendments and helping them generally in their day to day work.
I am currently working on drafting the new Data Protection laws that will cover all five hundred million people in Europe, allowing innovation in the online environment.
What are the main tasks and responsibilities?
The main tasks and responsibilities are assisting and advising an MEP in all aspects of their job, from research of current issues, to writing amendments for legislative proposals, helping the MEP on their work on different committees and also helping to communicate to constituents in Ireland. I also organise the MEP’s wider agenda such as meetings.
What are the main challenges?
It’s very interesting because no two days are the same so that’s good. You get a sense that you’re representing your own country and also you have the opportunity to develop a broader outlook on the world.
You also gain friendships with people from all over Europe that all have interesting things to say and as a result, have a very active social life. You’re never stuck for too long behind your desk either.
What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?
What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?
What is your education to date?
What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?
What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?
What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?
What is your dream job?
Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?
What advice would you give to someone considering this job?
Be proactive and look for the areas that interest you whether it’s the Environment or Human Rights and find MEP’s or interest groups that specialise in those interests and take the initiative to send them your CV.
Having a European language would help you considerably in this career. Irish should also not be ruled out as an option as this is considered as a second language.
What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?
Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?
What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?
Working in a small business would be an ideal background for this position because it’s very people orientated - You’re constantly dealing with people on the phone or via e-mail. You’re also expected to give a good service to people with queries. I worked in a small business when I was in University and I think it gave me good skills to have that service-mindedness in this job.