Sign up to Job Opportunities Bulletin



Staff Officer
Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA)

“This is a good organisation to work for – one that genuinely respects equality and diversity.”

It’s hard to believe, but this year will be my 34th year in the NICS. What’s more, it’s all been in the one Department – though that has changed its name three times since I started. I’ve covered very diverse areas, from veterinary, forestry, fisheries and marine to my current role in project development. I was promoted to Staff Officer in 2017.

My work is concerned with animal welfare and veterinary public health programmes. These are complex and wide-ranging issues that involve technology, government policies, business processes and information systems. I deal with senior officials and staff in other parts of the Department as well as external suppliers and practitioners. My responsibilities cover Information Management, Reporting, Programme Planning, Programme support and management of Staff and Resources.

The personal qualities needed in this environment naturally include good communication/interpersonal skills including the ability to exercise tact and diplomacy, along with drive and determination. Given the unpredictable nature of project work, you also need to be able to organise work and prioritise tasks. And of course, you must have to be able to take decisions, and assume a high level of personal responsibility.

Highlights include becoming the First Chair of the Department’s Disability Forum, in 2002. In 2004, I had the honour of picking up an award on behalf of the Department for Disability Employer of the Year from the Employers Forum for Disability (NI). I also currently sit on a NICS Disability Working Group, which acts as a consultative group to support the NICS Diversity and Social Inclusion Agenda.

Support is a crucial component of life within the NICS. Line managers are there to manage your work but also to provide you with the resources to develop as a person and an employee. There is also a good Reasonable Adjustment process in place to accommodate those staff who need adjustments in the workplace to support them. I can speak as a disabled person who has used this process over the years.

This is a good organisation to work for – one that genuinely respects equality and diversity.