Con is currently part of the Offshore Environment and Future Energy Division within the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and shares with us the great opportunities this role has given them including the opportunity to attend meetings in Brussels.

Please tell us a little bit about your role.

I joined the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) in 2023, following a year’s experience in another role within the civil service. I am currently part of the Offshore Environment and Future Energy Division within DECC.

The predominant focus of my work since joining the Department has been working on the National Energy and Climate Plan. This is a large, challenging & rewarding project, which has entailed working with colleagues, both within DECC and across governmental departments & other organisations, to put together a report which summarises Ireland’s policies & progress on advancing the five dimensions of the European Energy Union: decarbonisation, energy efficiency, energy security, internal energy market, and research, innovation & competitiveness.

What were your reasons for applying for your role?

I studied for a BA in Economics, Politics and Law from DCU, a programme with a heavy focus on public policy and one from which I felt a career in the civil service was a natural fit. The desire to pursue a career in the civil service informed my decision to study for an MSc in Comparative Social Change at UCD, which I felt would broaden my understanding of the role of the public service in wider society.

The civil service values of honesty, integrity and placing the interests of the citizen at the heart of decision-making processes appealed to me as being very much aligned with my own values, which contributed to making it an easy decision to apply.

What do you value most about your job?

I value the contribution my work, and that of my colleagues in DECC makes to securing a better future for Ireland. As a nation, Ireland has fantastic potential to be a world leader in areas such as offshore wind energy production, and now is an exciting time to be part of a team and a department which has a crucial role to play in unlocking that potential.

What are some of the benefits and supports available to you?

Flexible working hours & hybrid working are among a number of benefits which allow me to enjoy a great work-life balance, which not all careers allow. In addition, supports are regularly provided to enhance your understanding of issues which are important to your role: the opportunity to attend courses, seminars & conferences which strengthen your knowledge and, in turn, provide you with a platform to perform your role to the very best of your ability.

Having come into the role with an academic background not necessarily specific to my current area of focus, the resources I’ve been given to learn on the job have been a great help in enabling me to find my feet and contribute to the team.

What opportunities has this role provided for you?

Through DECC, I have had the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the challenges Ireland faces from a public policy perspective, and the vital role that the public service plays in tackling these challenges head on.

I’ve been privileged to attend conferences, meetings and seminars where experts from all sectors of society have shared their thoughts, concerns and suggestions relating to all things energy and climate. I’ve also had the opportunity to attend meetings in Brussels with our counterparts and colleagues from other European countries, learning a great deal from their knowledge and expertise.

My role has allowed me to work as part of a fantastic team of people who are knowledgeable and passionate about their areas of expertise, while also working in an environment where initiative and resourcefulness are encouraged and appreciated.

What aspect of the role do you particularly enjoy?

I enjoy the variety which exists within my role. No day is boring, while no two days are the same. While working on one major project for a number of weeks or months, opportunities still arise daily to attend seminars or conferences with colleagues on a wide variety of subjects. Experts from the fields of academia or private industry are often brought in to give talks on their own field of interest, which allows us to further our own learning while also seeing issues through another lens.

Would you recommend a career in the public sector and why?

Absolutely. If you are motivated by the prospect of a career in which you can make a positive contribution to society, while also enjoying great variety and flexibility in your day-to-day work, then a career in the public service is for you.

Anything else you would like to share?

Few decisions are more intimidating than choosing your career path, but the first steps are often the most difficult. A career in the public service offers great opportunities and would be a great next step for anyone who’s considering it.