Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Steven Kilgannon from An Garda Síochána to give some advice for people considering this job:


Steven Kilgannon

Garda Trainee

An Garda Síochána

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  Steven Kilgannon
Do not judge the job by your experience in the college. Join the Garda Reserve to gain experience of the outside world. Be yourself and put in the effort to achieve your goals.

Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Policy Officer - European Commission / EU Civil Service

"It is a great honour to contribute to this historic process and to serve the interests of over 500 million EU citizens." Grace Bolton, Policy Officer - European Commission / EU Civil Service. 

When I was a teenager, Ireland held a series of referenda on EU treaties. While following debates on European Integration, I became fascinated by the EU’s historic contribution to peace and stability. This inspired me to complete a BA in European Studies at Trinity College Dublin, where I studied French, German, History and Politics, which included an Erasmus year in Berlin.

To see how Europe fitted into the broader international context, I completed an MPhil in International Relations at Oxford University in 2010.

After Oxford, I moved to Brussels to serve in the Cabinet of Štefan Füle, who was European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy from 2010-2014. I initially joined the Cabinet to complete a five-month traineeship, but was subsequently offered a longer contract. Each Commissioner has a private office that supports their work by providing policy advice, preparing speeches and briefings, organising meetings and official travel.

During this time, our team shaped the EU’s response to historic processes such as the Arab Spring, negotiating Association Agreements with the Eastern Partnership countries, bringing Serbia and Kosovo closer to the EU and preparing Croatia to become the EU’s 28th Member State.

Open Competition for Graduate Recruitment 

In March 2014, I applied for the open competition for graduate recruitment into the EU institutions (known as EPSO’s AD5 Concours). The first round involved computer-based aptitude tests. The second round was taken in my second language (French) and involved a written case study, structured interview, oral presentation and a group exercise. In April 2015, the results were published and I was recruited two months later.

I am now working as a Policy Officer in the International Dimension Unit of the Secretariat General of the European Commission. This Unit coordinates the external dimension of the EU’s internal policies such as climate change, energy diplomacy, migration and trade.

The job involves interacting with EU Member States and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to prepare EU summits with third countries and G7/G20. I currently serve on the team representing the Commission at the Political and Security Committee.

The European Union was awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize for advancing peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe in the sixty years since its foundation. It is a great honour to contribute to this historic process and to serve the interests of over 500 million EU citizens.

Article by: Grace Bolton