Conor, Work Experience Student, July 2019
I completed two weeks of work experience in the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels.
During the two weeks I received a fascinating insight into the roles and structures of EU institutions and how these facets of the European Union effect different policy areas. In particular how the interests of Northern Ireland and the UK are represented in said areas.
I was also afforded the opportunity to attend many interesting events, in particular at the UK Representation to the EU and the European Policy Centre. Sitting in on such events allowed me to gain a more comprehensive knowledge of how the EU works and the prominence of diplomacy in many areas such as energy sustainability moving forward, the age of disinformation and the development of science.
This work experience allowed me to live and work in Brussels, a beautiful city abundant in culture and history. Having studied French to an A level standard this experience living abroad presented me with the opportunity to practice my communication skills also.
Although I was only there for 2 weeks, I met a plethora of different people from across the world and many individuals with differing roles inside the EU institutions.
The knowledge and skills I gained from working in an office in the international arena are invaluable going forward in my career. I couldn’t recommend this experience enough to anyone interested in the workings of the EU and diplomatic policy!
If you’re interested in both Northern Ireland affairs and EU politics, I would really recommend the internship programme at the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels.
On the job, you’ll learn the insides out of the European legislative process (and all the relevant acronyms!) and where Northern Ireland politicians and civil servants play a role.
The internship is also great at developing the transferable skills needed for working in an office environment at entry level – like information and project management, writing briefs, and digital skills.
The team are committed to helping you get the most from the experience – so the programme can be what you make of it, and if you are interested in a policy area or speciality, they’ll encourage you to take up opportunities where they arise.
I would certainly recommend the internship at the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels. My period in the office from January 2017 to January 2018 provided me with the opportunity to pursue my interests in European affairs and to experience life living and working in Brussels.
I was actively facilitated in developing my professional skills through my work and the office also provided other personal development opportunities such as language lessons. Since leaving the office I have commenced studying a PhD in European Union politics at Queen’s University Belfast and would like to return to Brussels at some point in the future.
My internship at the ONIEB was my first ‘proper’ job and it gave me a real insight into how organisations and offices work. I was able to experience such a variety of different tasks; writing policy reports, events management, communications and office management. Working in Brussels is incredibly fun and the events I attended and contacts I have made have been invaluable. I’ve met people from all over the world and made friends for life.
Working in Brussels is incredibly fun and the events I attended and contacts I have made have been invaluable. I’ve met people from all over the world and made friends for life.
My work in events and communications at the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels really gave me a passion for that type of work, leading to the beginning of my career at AIB (Allied Irish Bank). I’ve had a number of communications, events, engagements and public relations roles within AIB in Dublin and great progression since I started there, and I have recently just moved to London to become Digital Brand Manager for the UK. My experience in Brussels has always stood me in good stead and given me an edge over other candidates.