Zoe Dingwall

Zoe is a Political Adviser on Brexit and Economic Affairs Committee at the European Parliament.

BA Laws, 2001

What does your current role involve?

Every day is different; a typical working month is divided into different working weeks. During the Group week, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) meet, scrutinise, table amendments and debate their positions on proposed legislation which is debated and voted during the Plenary Session.  The monthly Committee week is dedicated to the specialist committees that range across many areas from terrorism, justice, foreign affairs, equality, financial crime and economic affairs. Committee weeks give MEPs across all political groups the opportunity to discuss draft legislation, propose amendments and consider legislative proposals from the European Commission and the Council, MEPs regularly draft reports with the help of their advisers. All this work culminates in the plenary sessions that are held each month in Strasbourg and occasionally in Brussels. It’s during the plenary week where reports are presented, debated and voted on by MEPs whether to adopt, amend or reject proposed legislation. Political Advisers are also required to travel throughout Europe as an official delegate or as part of a parliamentary delegation. I feel incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to visit some beautiful places as I enjoy meeting people and experiencing diverse cultures.

What is it like to work on such a hot topic?

The European Parliament provides a unique working environment, there is so much going on between the various meetings, exhibitions and official inter-parliamentary receptions. I love my job, it’s both challenging and intense but also extremely rewarding. The situation changes on a daily basis and it makes me feel extremely privileged to work in one of the European institutions and witness the unfolding politics at first hand.

Since leaving Abertay, describe your journey to your current job?

I've taken more than one entry-level position but always with an employer that offered the opportunity of progression and promotion. During my degree course, I started working for British telecom and soon after I graduated, I worked with the UK Civil Service. I was subsequently offered another entry level position with Bank of Scotland and worked there for almost ten years (before and after the financial crisis) each employment opportunity gave me valuable transferrable skills that I was able to build on through my own research and ultimately enabled me to become employed with the European Parliament.

I found many employers regard the four-year honours degree as the “gold standard” as it offers students an extra year to develop further in-depth knowledge and understanding.
Zoe Dingwall | European Parliament | Political Adviser on Brexit and Economic Affairs Committee

How did your Abertay degree help you get where you are?

I studied Scots Law, not because I wanted to be a lawyer, but because it offered me a good general degree that would make me more attractive to prospective employers.  In my experience, I found many employers regard the four-year honours degree as the “gold standard” as it offers students an extra year to develop further in-depth knowledge and understanding than the three-year degree course that is the standard throughout the rest of Europe.

Who/what had the most impact on your Abertay experience?

I am a strong believer in lifelong learning and I found many of my lecturers to be hugely inspiring people who helped me learn how to think, question evidence and critically analyse facts.

What advice would you give to students wanting to live abroad?

Go for it, it turned out to be the best decision of my life. My only regret has been that I wish I had made the decision to move sooner. I miss Scotland and my family very much, nevertheless, for me, the advantages vastly outweighed any negative aspects.

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