Careers and internships in European Institutions May 10, 2011Posted by Jeff Riley in : European Union Careers, Government, Graduate recruitment, internships, politics, work abroad , trackback
Careers Colleagues of mine from SOAS and Queen Mary’s College went on a recent ‘EU’ Careers day organised by the European Personnel Selection Office. University careers advisers are being targeted in this way to help increase the number of British graduates consider careers in the European institutions. Here are a few key points from the day covering: work experience with MEPS; working in the European Parliament; The role of the ECs UK representation office; internships in the European Institutions and the launching of the new European Banking Authority based in London.
- Socialist & Democrats in Europe (SDE). A representative from this organisation was at the event. The SDE represents Labour parties across Europe. He talked about how MEPs offer great work experience. MEPs are heavily involved in reviewing legislation generated by the European Commission and, consequently, their interns spend a high proportion of their time drafting and researching legislation. More so than interns with UK MPs On the down side parliament closes during the summer months which makes it difficult to get work experience. The rest of the year offers more interesting possibilities. The SDE themselves also offer internships – and w4mp.org was cited – as ever – as the web site to check.
- European Parliament, Administrator Route
Work for the European Parliament as an ‘Administrator’ (this is the catch all phrase for people working for the EP who are not MEPs), you need Mother Tongue in English, French or German and a second EU language
For 1st promotion in 2/3 years, also need a 3rd working language. This poses challenges for UK recruits and UK nationals are vastly underrepresented in EU.
Many British personnel are retiring and more British nationals are needed to replace them.
Since the enlargement process, English is succeeding French as the Lingua Franca, and there is a demand for native speakers who can write high standards of English (this point was reiterated throughout the day for both European Parliament and the European Commission).
They welcome applications from immediate graduates, but having some post-study work experience is much preferred. A typical profile of an applicant to the graduate route would be a good degree, possibly a Masters in European Studies, 2 to 3 years working in civil service/law firm/management consultant or other.
As a Desk Officer (typical entry level role for a graduate) may spend time working with the nominated MEP responsible for reviewing legislation (called a Rapporteur) by sitting on Committee and liaising with the MEP on drafts, or content. Typically a British Desk Officer would be nominated if the Rapporteur is a British MEP.
*European Commission: Representation in the United Kingdom (and some tips for applying to the EU institutions)
The EC Representation in the UK is a little like an Embassy representing the EC in the UK. It’s about explaining the EU to UK audiences such as the Press, Trade organisations, Chambers of Commerce, Civil Servants and the general public. A Political section of the Representation deal with different parties and groups. It’s also about explaining the UK to the EU.
More good news for Law and Economics students – these backgrounds are very popular amongst EC staff. There is always a need for lawyers, and if someone trained as a barrister/solicitor in the UK and then came into Brussels it would be very highly regarded. Equally some law firms like people who’ve had experience working in the EU before applying for lawyer jobs.
More autonomy in the EC civil service than in the UK. You’re encouraged and expected to move on, and around.
In your application, demonstrate that you strong extra curricular activities and participated in clubs/societies as a leader. Get an internship if you can. Or get involved in European Politics, or meet your MEP.
- European Union Interns/Traineeships
- Each EU institution has its own traineeship recruitment and selection process. Two entry deadlines each year in March and July
- Applications on line – includes questions about academics, work experience, languages and a motivation section
- Traineeship/stage office do an initial sift, and candidates are put onto the “blue book”. Institutions then select which candidate they would like to take on. Some will do a telephone interview .
- In the motivation section, candidates often forget to sell the skills they would offer the Institution and instead focus on talking about what they know about the institution.
- During the five month learning experience ensure you sit with manager and establish with them what you want out of this time.
- At each deadline there are between 6500 and 7500 applicants. And they take on 650.
- A good idea to have some work experience before applying to the traineeships. Make sure this stands out in your application.
- Have to have finished degree before applying.
- EC internships are available to people from outside the EU, but follow-on jobs are not.
- It’s good to have languages to apply, but English is needed more and more.
- European Banking Authority, City of London
A new office (started Jan 1st 2011) with a current staff of 35 that looks set to expand to over 150 in a year’s time.
Double remit of writing banking legislation and oversight with three core parts: Bank Regulation, Oversight Authority, and Operations.
They are currently growing organically and offering opportunities as and when the need arises. They are currently recruiting at all levels – opportunities on their website and EPSO.
Standard need to be EU citizen and speak two languages, with English as the clear working language.
As the organisation is in the City of London and newly-emerging, this organisation offers strong developmental opportunities in an important area.