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Europe Minister visits Cardiff

18 February 2011

EU Minister WEBSchool of European Studies students, Charlotte Roberts and Martin M Jones receiving advice from Europe Minister, The Rt Hon David Lidington

Minister for Europe David Lidington has visited the University to encourage students to consider a career in the EU Civil Service.

Hosted by the School of European Studies, and part of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s EU Careers Month, the Minister provided students with an insight into why the UK Government is strongly encouraging British students and professionals to apply.

He was joined by Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan, and two university alumni who are currently working in Brussels.

The event attracted more than 100 students from a variety of subject backgrounds, who welcomed the opportunity to hear first hand accounts of life and work in this field and what an EU Career has to offer.

Speaking during the visit the Minister for Europe said: "I am very pleased to have this opportunity to encourage students at Cardiff University to consider a career in the EU Civil Service. The EU needs outstanding generalist civil servants from a wide variety of academic backgrounds, as well as specialists such as lawyers, economists, auditors, interpreters and statisticians.

"We need British nationals to join now to become the future leaders of the EU. This doesn’t happen overnight, which is why we need to act now. And I am hoping that future leaders of the EU Civil Service are in this room today, and that you will ensure that the UK’s voice continues to be heard.

"These are careers packed from the outset with interesting, challenging work that really makes a difference: shaping the policies, creating the legislation and negotiating the solutions which make the headlines across Europe every day. More importantly, thanks to the work the EU has done to improve the selection procedure, students can now apply in their final year of study, and can expect the whole process to last around nine months, compared to the two years it used to take."

Huw Davies, who graduated in Philosophy from School of English, Communication and Philosophy now heads up the Communications Team at the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO). He returned to the University to speak to students about his own job in Brussels.

He said: "It‘s very important that British students and graduates are informed about the varied and challenging opportunities available in the EU Civil Service. I’m very glad that as a graduate of Cardiff University myself I have this opportunity to speak to students about the fantastic prospects in this field of work."

Professor David Boucher, Head of the School of European Studies said: "This was such a great opportunity. The students had a rare opportunity to ask the Minister directly and our alumni questions about the kinds of careers on offer, as well as the skills and abilities needed to secure a job in the EU. I am sure many of them will have definitely been inspired to think about applying for the next EU Competition."

Martin Jones, who is studying an MSc in International Relations in the School of European studies said: "Having had a long time interest in the European Union's institutions, I've always thought a career working there would be right for me. However, after my meeting with the Minister for Europe and the Secretary of State for Wales, I am as enthused as ever to apply to the European Commission's Concours next month."

EU Careers Month and is supported by the launch of a new website which contains top tips, videos, case studies, blogs and useful information about careers in the EU Civil Service.

The opening date for applications for the next EU Competition, the entrance exam to join the EU Civil Service, is 16 March. With a revised recruitment system, final-year undergraduates can now apply, and the recruitment process has been reduced to around nine months.