A trainee's experience - Information and Communication

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What is it like to work as a trainee at Eurofound?

We sat down and talked to Dimitra Kitridou, who came to Eurofound in April 2011 to do a 5-month traineeship in the Information and Communication Unit.

Eurofound: What do you do here at Eurofound?

Dimitra: I am working as a trainee in the Information and Communication Unit, within the Multimedia team. The overall aim of my team is to communicate and promote Eurofound’s research findings and activities to external audiences such as stakeholders, policymakers, the media and the general public. I use a combination of online tools (such as social network websites) and in-house information systems (such as Eurofound’s content management system, intranet and databases) to carry out tasks such as editing, updating, creating, publishing and uploading web pages. As I am Greek, I also check the quality of the language on web pages in Greek which are on Eurofound’s official website.

Other work includes using Google Analytics to analyse and report on the usage of specific Eurofound pages, helping with Eurofound’s monthly online newsletter and I am involved in some other projects related to web information research and retrieval. For example, I help the Employment and Competiveness Unit in locating and reporting cases of job losses and job creation in Greece and Cyprus.

Eurofound: What made you look for a traineeship at Eurofound?

Dimitra: My first degree is in librarianship, however, my desire to acquire specialised knowledge on how information systems can really work effectively for their users led me to do my MA degree in information science. I was aiming for a motivational job in a multicultural environment, that would allow me to use my skills as an information professional, and also further develop my skills and knowledge in a significant European research agency.  I would like to pursue a career as a information professional,  and potentially, as an academic researcher within the area of user behaviour and information retrieval. Therefore, applying for a traineeship in Eurofound, was the best option for me.

Eurofound: How did you go about getting the traineeship at Eurofound?

Dimitra: I found out about the traineeship from a Greek newspaper. The process of  applying was simple and easy.

Eurofound: Do you have experiences from working or studying with similar issues in the past? 

Dimitra: Yes, I had a similar working experience as a Business Classification Scheme Officer in the Arts Council in England a couple of years ago. There I worked on rolling out a series of seminars for Arts Council staff on how to use the organisation’s internal business classification scheme for documentation indexing.

Eurofound:  What was your employment status before the traineeship?

Dimitra: I was actively seeking not only a job, but also motivation.  However, everybody knows that life is a long challenging adventure and like the Greek poet Konstantinos Kavafis states in his poem ‘Ithaca’:

‘As you set out for Ithaca, hope that your journey is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery. Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon-don't be afraid of them: you'll never find things like that on your way as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare sensation touches your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops, wild Poseidon-you won't encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul, unless your soul sets them up in front of you’

Greece was always my ‘Ithaca’, therefore the last few years I opened my wings to fly to distant places; out of desire to become wiser and maybe return to ‘Ithaca’ like Odysseus did. In conclusion, all this time I am devoted to the message of this great poem which is: ‘it is not the destination that matters, but the journey itself’.

Eurofound: Do you want to work/further study similar issues in the future?

Dimitra: Of course I would love to work on similar issues in the future. I already had the chance to work in interesting projects, using and combining my academic, working experience and knowledge.

Eurofound: How did you find the process of finding accommodation and settling into life in Dublin?

Dimitra: It was quite simple and straightforward.  I contacted people offering rooms in Dublin when I was still in Greece, asking for information on the accomodation, cost of living, etc. I also found the information offered by the HR department quite useful. The Irish are very kind and helpful, a fact that eased the process of finding accommodation as well as friends. Generally, I felt very warm and welcomed, even before arriving in Ireland and I really appreciate that. It still takes time for me to understand differences in mentality and way of thinking, but on the other hand, I have lived abroad before (in Brighton, UK), so I know that the general rule is to approach people with respect and keep an open mind. Dublin is an interesting city, full of art and music. I am making the most of my time to explore and experience the good vibes of this city.