Ennae O’Connor is in first year with the National Graduate Programme, working in the Organisational Development department.
During my Business and Management course in Maynooth, I completed an internship in Enterprise Ireland working in the High Potential Start-Ups division. This gave me real exposure into the type of work that Enterprise Ireland does – its culture, its people and so on – and so I knew from then that the graduate programme was something I was really interested in pursuing. I could see what an important role Enterprise Ireland has both within Ireland and overseas for Irish companies.
At Enterprise Ireland, our purpose statement is supporting Irish enterprises to start, innovate and succeed globally but the line that really resonates the most with me is “driving prosperity throughout Ireland”. Witnessing that impact first-hand is something that really inspired me during my internship and made me want to come back.
“Enterprise Ireland is very fast-paced; you’re taking on real responsibilities and making a real impact for businesses.” Ennae O’Connor, National Graduate Programme participant.
Applying for the Graduate Programme
The application process can be intensive and I’d really recommend doing your homework. Look at the Enterprise Ireland corporate website, their social media and their values as a company. Be prepared ahead of each round, leverage any relevant experience you may have, no matter how big or small – education, internships, personal interests – anything that demonstrates your competencies. Reach out to the graduates on the current programme – I’m sure they’d be more than happy to help out and share any advice they have. Keep positive and confident throughout – it is a long process but it’s definitely worth it.
Every day is different!
My role is a little different from other graduate roles as it’s internally focused rather than client-facing. I absolutely adore it. My department is organisational development and I’m involved in internal communications and employee engagement. During my internship I was very client-focused, dealing with entrepreneurs and companies, but in my final year in college I became very interested in organisational development – and that translated into me getting involved in this area. It’s completely different from the client-facing roles, but I think the whole area of internal communications is really interesting.
The primary focus of my role is to keep employees connected and informed, creating a shared understanding of Enterprise Ireland’s purpose and values and keeping colleagues updated on company decisions, initiatives, programmes and executive messages. No two days are the same. We have over 40 international offices, as well as regional offices, so my day-to-day role is creating editorial content and executing wellbeing programs and campaigns to promote our company values.
As an example of the typical work I would do, yesterday I was putting together our virtual Pride Parade; today I was preparing a presentation to present to our Executive Director. There’s a lot of creative thinking. Over the last four weeks my main focus has been coordinating our global wellness challenge – similar to a step challenge, we had 44 teams competing to maximise their daily activity. I was giving weekly updates, the highly anticipated Leader Board reveal and sharing photos and videos of the teams getting active. The challenge coincided with our Pride Run, which saw our colleagues all across the world Rock the Rainbow and run, walk or jog 5k to celebrate inclusion and diversity of LGBTQ+ people and their families.
“It’s important to know that there are positions available for graduates in all sectors and all departments, from finance to marketing to our client-facing roles.” says O’Connor.
There are so many opportunities to get involved and develop your business, project-management, relationship-building and networking skills. You’re not expected to know everything when you come in, but you need to be energetic and enthusiastic and passionate about delivering results.