Paul Fitzgerald gives us ‘A Day in The Life’

Who are you?

Hi all,  Paul FItzgerald from Culture & Engagement here.

How did you get here? What was the journey to UCD?

I’ve been working with UCD HR in a variety of recruitment, training and now engagement roles since 2002. This is actually my second stint in UCD as I previously worked with UCD Estates after I left college. In between those roles I spent a few years in the private sector, working in IT and graphic design.

What is your role within UCD, and what are your main responsibilities?

In UCD terms, and even in HR terms, my role is a new one. I work as an ‘Engagement Specialist’, an area of HR that has only emerged in the last few years. These roles are more common in the private sector but UCD is the first 3rd level institution to put this type of position in place (though others are following).

The role of my unit, and therefore my own role, is to help make UCD a great place to work. Fairly straightforward, right? 

Up until now all the emphasis has been on creating a positive experience for students and lots of support has been put in place to achieve this. My aim is to create a positive experience for employees by implementing programmes and supports aimed purely at them.

Aside from engagement activities, I also manage the HR family of websites (9 so far) and all of our various social channels, most of which I have established from scratch. 

In between these two fall all my other jobs such as reviewing and updating all of HR’s policies, providing advice and guidance on internal communications to other units and much more.

Could you briefly describe what a typical day looks like for you

Tuesday this week

  • Daily team meeting to agree priorities.
  • Meeting with Resourcing to look at how they might regularly communicate statistics to key stakeholders.
  • Presentation at the new employee induction morning in the Student Centre
  • Meeting with People Development to review and restructure one of their websites.
  • Put together a concept and promotional artwork for the  Dignity & Respect Service.
  • Arrange rooms and meetings for the Photography and Music groups.
  • Look at ideas and a theme for our summer engagement activities.
  • Policy review project.

And after work….Staff Band practice!

Could you share a memorable experience you’ve had while working in your role?

Without a doubt, the best day I’ve had in UCD as an employee was our Thank You Day on 1 September 2022. We wanted to do something really special to celebrate the return to campus life so myself and Mark Simpson (my manager) came up with a concept that allowed us to remember loved ones lost during the pandemic but also reconnect with friends on campus. The weather was beautiful, the crowds were huge and it reminded me of what a fantastic community and campus we have.

Is there a particular skill or expertise that helps you in your role and what advice would you give to someone joining your unit?

Flexibility and an eagerness to acquire new skills are key in this role. I’m big into self-directed and I’m a big fan of Linkedin Learning. The and the skills I’ve picked up have almost always found a use in my role. 

All experience helps and my (very) varied work history has proven to be a benefit rather than a hindrance.

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