Just the Facts – Career & Traineeship Opportunities within the EU

Given that there are currently a number of excellent career opportunities available at the EU Institutions, we felt it was timely to do a Just the Facts on EM Ireland’s Grad Jobs Campaign and the Department of the Taoiseach’s EU Jobs Ireland Programme.  So what are they about?   

The Grad Jobs in Europe Campaign & EU Jobs Ireland 
EM Ireland’s Grad Jobs in Europe campaign, which has been running since 2009, encourages Irish students and graduates to include Brussels in their post-college employment search to the same extent that their European counterparts do.  The goal of the Grad Jobs Campaign is to make Irish graduates more aware of the opportunities available to them in the EU system and to encourage more Irish graduates to consider the EU as a place where they could fulfil their career ambitions.  There are a number of elements to the campaign, including:

Career Talks
Each year, EM Ireland conducts a series of career talks in universities, ITs, clubs and socs around the country to highlight the job and internship opportunities available across the EU.

The Green Book and Brussels Connection Event – EM Ireland Brussels Branch
Updated annually, our Green Book delivers highly practical and useful information on how to get an internship in Europe, including details of all the stage opportunities available within the European Institutions; how to settle into life in Brussels; and how to find a job once your internship finishes.  The Green Book is launched annually at our Brussels Connection event, which is a great opportunity for the EM Ireland Irish network in Brussels and beyond to re-connect.  EM Ireland’s newly formed Brussels Branch also offers a great networking opportunity for new Irish arrivals to Brussels and an opportunity to engage with the Irish Community based there.

European Movement Ireland Stagiaire Programme 
EM Ireland accepts interns on a rolling basis depending on our project load and work requirements here in our Dublin office.  Get in touch if you’re interested!

Jobs and Internships in Europe Information Service
EM Ireland publicises internship and employment opportunities in the EU as they arise via our Facebook page, Twitter and website.  We also have a weekly email service that sends updated information directly to third-level careers advisors and students nationwide.

College of Europe Scholarship Programme 
Each year, the Irish Government funds a number of students to study at Masters Level in the College of Europe. European Movement Ireland is currently in charge of the application and selection process for these College of Europe scholarships on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills.

EU Jobs Ireland 
In addition, European Movement Ireland cooperates very closely with a number of partners in Ireland – including the European Commission Representation in Ireland, the European Parliament Information Office in Ireland, the Public Appointments Service and the Department of the Taoiseach – as part of the Government’s EU Jobs Ireland initiative.  Coordinated by the Department of the Taoiseach, EU Jobs Ireland provides a range of services to inform Irish citizens of the career and traineeship opportunities on offer in the EU and to assist them through the application process.

Careers and Internships in the EU – Background 
More than 50,000 people, including around 1,000 Irish citizens, work across the EU’s Institutions and agencies.  As many as one hundred Irish graduates undertake EU internships every year in the two annual intakes in March and October.

Traineeships and careers with the EU are popular for many reasons; They offer the chance to work on behalf of more than 500 million citizens, creating and assessing policy in a uniquely multilingual and dynamic environment.  The EU ‘stage’ is one of the world’s best known and most respected internships, while a career with the EU is amongst the most exciting in public and international affairs – a lifetime of different jobs and challenges, with exceptional scope for training and career development.  The European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO), which is responsible for permanent recruitment to the institutions, outlines exactly what it is that makes an EU career so attractive.

What’s on offer?
The EU needs people with all sorts of backgrounds, skill-sets and experience.  EPSO runs several competitions annually to recruit generalists as ‘administrators’, ‘assistants’ and ‘secretaries’.  They also regularly hold competitions for specialist roles – for example, as auditorstranslatorslawyer-linguistseconomistslawyers and ICT staff.

Recruitment for permanent EU positions is through open competition – called ‘concours’ – and is managed by EPSO. The competitions are run in regular cycles, with the largest – for graduate policy officers or ‘Administrators’ – held each spring, and open until mid-April.  In addition to these permanent competitions, the EU regularly recruits staff on fixed-term contracts through a process known as CAST, while temporary agents are also recruited to fill specialist posts.  On 23 May this year, European citizens go to the polls to elect our MEPs.  This year, in particular, there are also many excellent opportunities at the European Parliament, which the European Parliament Information Office in Ireland has set out in detail here.

The Stage / Traineeship 
EU internships – or ‘stages’ as they are better known – are offered by almost all of the EU Institutions and agencies. Open to graduates from all backgrounds, many of them are paid and all of them offer great experience.  Our very own Green Book, now in its eighth edition and available online here, provides a comprehensive guide to the stage. Work is currently underway on Volume 9, which will be launched in October in Brussels at our Brussels Connection event.  Each week, EM Ireland posts details of upcoming internships on our website and also through our Grad Jobs in Europe mailing list.

April 2014 – What’s available now?
EPSO is currently running its main annual graduate recruitment competition, seeking talented graduates, or final year students, with academic backgrounds in any discipline to fill permanent positions with a basic starting salary of €4,349 a month.  The competition closes for applications on Tuesday 15 April and full details are available here.

Separately, EPSO is also running a competition to recruit auditors to serve at the European Court of Auditors in Luxembourg, with a starting salary of €4,349 a month. Candidates should have a university degree (or shortly be set to secure one) in a field related to auditing (including economics, finance, accounting, business and other similar areas). Full details are available here.

What do I need to be eligible?
Eligibility requirements vary somewhat from one competition to the next, so make sure to check out the specific requirements for each before applying.  In general, however, you must:

  • be an EU citizen and
  • have a thorough knowledge of one official EU language and reasonable command of a second (B2 level)

But while competence in a second language is important, don’t worry if you’re not absolutely fluent – the requirements are stricter for the permanent competitions than for either the traineeships or temporary posts and you can always apply and brush up your skills as you progress through the recruitment process.

Where can I get support? 
With so many opportunities on offer, knowing where to start isn’t easy.   However, help is on hand.  EU Jobs Ireland has been designed to help you in taking the first step.  Coordinated by the Department of the Taoiseach, EU Jobs Ireland draws on the expertise of Ireland’s leading EU stakeholders, including ourselves in European Movement Ireland, to provide essential information about the type of jobs that are available and how to set about securing them. Through its mailing listsocial media and regular events, it aims to keep you up to date on the latest developments in EU careers and provides advice on how to approach the application process.  EU Jobs Ireland also offers specific training and support to Irish candidates to help in preparing for the second stage of recruitment competitions.  You can contact EU Jobs Ireland and sign up to its mailing list by emailing eujobs@taoiseach.ie with subject line ‘Subscribe’.  We would encourage you to do so.

Are you a current / former Stagiaire or EU official?  We want to hear from you! 

Connecting and linking in with current / former Irish stagiaires and EU officials is a large part of both the EU Jobs Ireland initiative and EM Ireland’s Grad Jobs Campaign.  If you work, or have worked, with an EU Institution or agency and would be happy to support our efforts to raise awareness of EU careers in Ireland, please let us know by emailing the Department of the Taoiseach at eujobs@taoiseach.ie.  Your engagement will be a huge help to us in ensuring Irish citizens are well represented in the EU institutions.

Useful Websites

European Movement Ireland                       

Department of the Taoiseach EU Jobs Campaign        

European Commission Representation in Ireland 

European Parliament Information Office in Ireland

Public Appointments Service

Permanent Representation of Ireland to the EU

European Personnel Selection Office


This Just the Facts article is also available as an email information service from European Movement Ireland to our members. For more information on becoming a member of European Movement Ireland, contact our offices or visit our Membership webpages.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply