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 Tomas Flanagan from St. Michael's House to give some advice for people considering this job:


Tomas Flanagan

Occupational Therapist

St. Michael's House

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  Tomas Flanagan

I would advise anyone interested in Occupational Therapy to read up on the profession or else try to meet a qualified Occupational Therapist and talk to them about their work.

The internet can be a great resource in getting information. Also information from the universities might indicate if this is a course that is suited to you. A lot of the course work relies on you being a self-directed learner. This makes the course different to other more mainstream/academic courses as the onus is on the student to complete a lot of work independently.

As this is a caring profession an interest in working with people is a must. You also need to be a good communicator as you will be working closely with clients, families and other staff on an ongoing basis.

Organisational skills are essential to enable you to manage a caseload.


The Social person's interests focus on some aspect of those people in their environment. In all cases the social person enjoys the personal contact of other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people, and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
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Work Experience (School)
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Occupation Details

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Assistant - EU

Job Zone

These occupations usually require a Leaving Certificate or equivalent.

Related Experience
Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a bank teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognised apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include sheet metal workers, forest fire fighters, customer service representatives, physical therapist aides, retail salespersons and tellers.

€31k >  
Assistant - EU
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€31 -  
Related Information:
Monthly salaries in the European Commission range from around €2,300 per month for a newly recruited AST/SC 1 official to around €16,000 per month for a top level AD 16 official with over four years of seniority.

Grade: Basic monthly salary €
AD12: €10,406.80
AD9: €7,185.01
AD7: €5,612.65
AD5: €4,384.38
AST3: €3,424.90
AST1: €2,675.40
AST/SC2: €2,654
AST/SC1: €2,345

Each grade is broken up into five seniority steps with corresponding salary increases. Basic salaries are adjusted annually in line with inflation and purchasing power in the EU countries.

As the name may suggest the basic monthly salary is just the starting point to remuneration associated with EU jobs as an employee may be entitled to allowances. All payments are subject to relevant tax and charges.
Data Source(s):
Official Journal of the European Union & EPSO

Last Updated: April, 2015

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
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At a Glance... header image

Assistants in the EU work in supporting roles and are crucial for the internal management of the EU institutions.

The Work header image

Assistants in the EU are generally employed in an executive and technical role (administrative, financial, communication, research, policy development and implementation etc.). 

Assistants play an important role in the internal management of the EU Institutions, notably in:

  • Budgetary and financial affairs
  • Personnel work
  • Computing
  • Document management and
  • Scientific laboratory work



Personal Qualitiesheader image

The EU institutions are looking for candidates who are talented, motivated, and highly qualified in their field, and who have the following competencies in particular:

  • Analysis and problem solving - Ability to identify the critical facts in complex issues and develop creative and practical solutions
  • Communication – Communicate clearly and precisely both orally and in writing
  • Delivering quality and results – Take personal responsibility and initiative for delivering work to a high standard of quality within set procedures
  • Learning and development – Develop and improve personal skills and knowledge of the organisation and its environment
  • Prioritising and organising – Prioritise the most important tasks, work flexibly, and organise own workload efficiently
  • Resilience – Remain effective under a heavy workload, handle organisational frustrations positively, and adapt to a changing work environment
  • Working with others -  Work cooperatively with others in teams and across organisational boundaries and respect differences between people

An additional requirement for posts in the AD career bracket (administrators) is:

  • Leadership – Manage, develop and motivate people to achieve results

Entry Routesheader image

School leavers can begin a career within the EU through Assistant (AST) or Secretarial (SC) roles for which you don’t need a degree to compete.

An assistant career in the EU covers grades AST 1 to AST 11.

  • New staff usually enter at grades AST 1 or AST 3.
  • AST 1 candidates must have completed secondary education and have previous relevant experience, or have a relevant vocational qualification.
  • AST 3 candidates should have completed secondary education, a relevant vocational qualification and/or several years' relevant experience.

So in general, to apply for an Assistant competition, you must have completed (at least) secondary school.

There are also a  limited number of 'traineeships' (Stagiaires) available.

As a graduate, you will typically apply for Administrator (AD) profiles. As an official you can find yourself playing a key role in the EU’s processes with a high degree of responsibility from an early stage in your career.

The selection procedures for permanent positions with the EU are organised as ‘open competitions’.  The most relevant competition for graduates is launched every March, with profiles varying from year to year. An open competition includes tests and assessment exercises designed to measure your professional skills and a number of core competencies. In view of the very large number of applicants, this is the fairest and most transparent selection procedure.

EU competitions are published on and announced by a competition notice, which provides full details of the profile, the eligibility criteria and the selection procedure. The format of the competitions varies depending on the profile being sought.

In order to be considered for the selection process, you will first need to meet the eligibility criteria (qualifications, professional experience, etc.) of a given competition, as published in the Official Journal or EPSO website.

Click here for examples of qualifications required.

Last Updated: June, 2014

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image


Organisation: Public Appointments Service
  Address: Chapter House, 26/30 Abbey Street Upper, Dublin 1
  Tel: (01) 858 7400 or Locall: 1890 44 9999
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: EU Careers - European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO)
  Address: Candidate Contact Service, Office C-80 00/40, B1049 Brussels
  Tel: +32 (0) 2 299 3131
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: European Movement Ireland
  Address: 8 Lower Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin 2,
  Tel: (0)1 662 5815
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: European Parliament Information Office in Ireland
  Address: 43, Molesworth Street, Dublin, 2
  Tel: 01 - 605 7900
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: EU Jobs Ireland
  Address: Department of the Taoiseach, Government Buildings, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2
  Tel: 00 353 1 619 4335
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


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This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Civil & Public Service, Local Government, Politics & EU
Classic Arts, Languages and Culture

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