Utrecht University organised the yearly event “Working at the Ministries” where students can see what it is like to work at a Dutch ministry.
Each year the Rijkstrainee scholarship programme gives the opportunity to gain experience in different workplaces, combining traineeship and work. The duration of the programme is 2 years. Rutger Oorsprong, a former participant of the programme who is currently on the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, explained what it is like to work for the Dutch government as well as the future prospects.
Bureaucracy is part of the starter pack when taking up a job in any ministry. Oorsprong explained why it is so important: “Bureaucracy is annoying but necessary at the same time. There is bureaucracy because of the amount of the responsibility that the work requires. We can’t afford any mistakes” said Rutger Oorsprong.
One of the biggest challenges to face is that workers do not change when another party is elected. Whoever is in power the tasks need to be carried out no matter what. Opinions and ideologies have to stand aside. Rutger claimed: “You have to adapt depending on the political party in charge.” Although he’s only been working in the ministry for a short time, he has had to leave his political ideology behind and adapt to what the current party requires.
An uncertain future
With the European elections just around the corner and the change it will bring to the EU member states, it is essential that each and every one of the ministries is up to date with what is happening. For that reason, each ministry has one part of it specifically working on European matters: “One part of the ministry is in charge of the European issues and they cover all that happens”, stated Oorsprong. He added that occasionally people in charge or European affairs have to visit Brussels to keep informed or to report changes in the respective Dutch ministries.
Regarding the changes it will bring to the internal working of each ministry, Oorsprong said that it is difficult to say and to make a clear statement on the topic, but he hoped the changes would be minor.
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