Nigel Shares how his interest in policy making led him to the position of Administrative Officer in the Department of Finance and how they have been afforded endless opportunities to develop their skills and competencies through specific job training and formal advanced education.

Please tell us a little bit about your role.

I am in my 6th year in the Banking Division of Department of Finance. I spent the first 4 years working on Crisis Planning and response, working closely with officials from the Central Bank and NTMA. Since then I have been working on Financial Consumer Protection and Consumer Credit including mortgage arrears.

What were your reasons for applying for your role?

I had started working in Department of Justice as an Immigration Officer (Clerical Officer grade) which I really enjoyed, but I wanted to get involved in policy-making rather than service delivery. However, I found that one can definitely inform the other.

What do you value most about your job?

I mostly value the fact that I know the work I carry out ultimately benefits society in a positive way, as our drive is to make things better for our citizens.

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

As someone who suffered greatly in the Great Financial Crisis where I was out of proper work for many years and then had to start at the bottom again, I cannot overstate the comfort I feel with the security of tenure that comes with working for government.

Also, there are a huge variety of family-friendly work patterns available, such as shorter working year, career breaks, half-time, 4-day weeks, or whatever you and your family need to make things work at different stages of your life. The work/life balance available is exceptional.

What opportunities has this role provided for you?

I have been afforded endless opportunities to develop my skills and competencies through specific job training and through formal advanced education.

Since joining, I have completed two professional diplomas and a master’s degree at no financial cost to myself. I have also got to travel to Brussels and be involved in developing EU legislation.

What has surprised you since starting this role?

I was somewhat surprised at how dynamic my workplace is. There are constantly new challenges arising, reflecting what is going on in the world. Thankfully, I am surrounded by intelligent, innovative, driven professionals, who are committed to public service.

What aspect of the role do you particularly enjoy?

I love how there are always new challenges and projects to deliver. The work is interesting and in the role of Administrative Officer you can really get to contribute to developing policies, your opinions and ideas will be heard. There is also a lot of responsibility and autonomy in the role that will appeal to people who are serious about wanting to improve public policy.

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

Aside from the security, there are huge opportunities for self-development and career progression.

The service itself and your colleagues will support you along the way, from training to advice on career development. And the main thing is a sense of satisfaction in your work.

Anything else you would like to share?

I only started my third level education in my late 20s. I was 38 when I joined the service. I wish I knew earlier what I know now, as I find this work the most rewarding of any of the jobs or careers I have had in the past. I only regret not joining sooner.