Minister advises students on EU careers

It is in the personal interests of Irish graduates to consider a career in the European Union, according to the the Minister for European Affairs.

Minister Paschal Donohoe was speaking during a visit to DCU last week as part of a recruitment drive to encourage Irish graduates to consider careers in EU bodies.

“The variety of jobs, the opportunity to work in different countries, to do different kinds of roles is absolutely extraordinary,” said Minister Donohoe. “Given the variety of degrees and disciplines within DCU there’s definitely lots of opportunities available to people.”

The minister spoke about Ireland’s strong presence in the EU, especially at “medium and senior management level”. However, he expressed concern over a possible lack of Irish representation in the EU’s future.

“The big problem is that in five to 10 years’ time, people who are doing those roles at the moment will either retire or they will go onto other jobs or other roles within their career.

“That level of representation that we have at the moment is at a very high level but it is going to begin to decline very quickly. The less representative those bodies are, the less representative they will be of countries like Ireland.”

Joan Flanagan of the European Commission spoke about the selection process for graduates applying for roles through the European Personnel Selection Office and open competition, explaining that graduate positions are advertised every spring around St Patrick’s Day.

For these roles a person requires two EU languages; the first being one of the 24 official EU languages and the second being English, French or German. Minister Donohoe advised “not to let the language requirements put people off completely”.

Applied Language and Intercultural Studies student at DCU, Niamh Hickey, said: “As a translation student studying two foreign languages, in addition to speaking English and having learned Irish, I was not put off by the two languages requirement for positions within the EU. Although I can understand how others would be worried by this.

“At present, DCU promotes EU careers very well by email and through social media, though I am not sure what supports exist for students that are actively applying for these positions within the EU.”

Students considering an EU careers can find more information on or visit the Facebook page at EU Careers DCU.

Martina Brophy

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