Having previously worked at the UK delegation to NATO at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, I was interested in viewing the Organisation from another perspective. I enjoyed living in mainland Europe and was keen to experience the lifestyle and culture in a different country. The position of Data Manager attracted me because it made career sense in terms of my long-term professional development, offered the opportunity to use my Prince 2 project management skills and because of the excellent benefits!
I remember that the recruitment process was lengthy, however, my advice to candidates would be to persevere and not give up if your first application is unsuccessful. The induction was useful and informative but it still took me a few months to understand the inner-workings of the Agency, to learn the jargon, policies, procedures as well as to navigate the bureaucracy and politics. The atmosphere at the Agency is fun and The Hague is a very international city. I enjoy the local beach and the proximity to Amsterdam's major airport, Schiphol, which enables frequent travel in my free time.
The role of Data Manager requires project management skills, a good analytical brain and patience. I ensure that projects adhere to policies and procedures. Working primarily with MS Project, I monitor quality and risk to ensure that projects remain within agreed tolerances. If I see an issue, it is my responsibility to flag it up with senior management for quick resolution, thereby avoiding any negative impact on our customers such as delays or increased cost.
I appreciate the fact that I have been given opportunities to broaden my horizons and experience during my employment at the Agency. I organised the first NCI Agency Industry Conference in Rome, which was deemed a huge success. The Agency has invested in me and supported me through a degree in Leadership and Management. I have also spent a total of 9 months in operational theatre which allowed me to see how work conducted in Europe has an impact on troops on the ground. In the future I will be helping the General Manager with his 6 priorities for improvement by making plans, setting milestones and creating SMART projects.