Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Tomas Flanagan from St. Michael's House to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Tomas Flanagan

Occupational Therapist

St. Michael's House

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  Tomas Flanagan

I would advise anyone interested in Occupational Therapy to read up on the profession or else try to meet a qualified Occupational Therapist and talk to them about their work.

The internet can be a great resource in getting information. Also information from the universities might indicate if this is a course that is suited to you. A lot of the course work relies on you being a self-directed learner. This makes the course different to other more mainstream/academic courses as the onus is on the student to complete a lot of work independently.

As this is a caring profession an interest in working with people is a must. You also need to be a good communicator as you will be working closely with clients, families and other staff on an ongoing basis.

Organisational skills are essential to enable you to manage a caseload.

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Investigative?
Investigative 
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with clever technology. They will often follow the latest developments in their chosen field, and prefer mentally stimulating environments.
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Rural Social Scheme


The Rural Social Scheme (RSS) is aimed at low-income farmers and fishermen/women.

To qualify for the RSS you must be getting a social welfare payment. In return, people participating in the RSS provide services that benefit rural communities. For example:

  • Maintaining and enhancing various walking routes
  • Energy conservation work for older people and those at risk of poverty
  • Village and countryside enhancement projects
  • Social care and care of older people
  • Community care for pre-school and after-school groups
  • Environmental maintenance work
  • Projects relating to not-for-profit cultural and heritage centres
  • Community administration or clerical work
  • Any other appropriate community based project identified during the scheme

Participants in the scheme work 19.5 hours per week. These hours are to ensure participation on the scheme does not affect your farming/fishing activities. A mimimum payment of €210.50 applies. 

If you get a place on the RSS Scheme, you are offered a contract from your start date for up to 22 months. 

As this scheme is administered locally, you should contact your local RSS implementing body for further information or an application form. 

Further information on the RSS scheme is also available click here

  Hint: Health Service Executive

There are ongoing training opportunities in this job which are organised and facilitated by the HSE. Training pertinent to Social Work is actively promoted by the agency. For example, I have completed courses in the following:

  • domestic violence,
  • mental health,
  • framework of assessments when working with families and children,
  • attachment theory in practice etc.
Also there are opportunities for a social worker to take on students for their college placements which mainly involves being their ‘mentor’ while they gain work experience in your agency setting.

At present, I am also considering doing a part-time two year course in addiction studies and counselling. The benefits of a Social Work Qualification is that it opens many 'doors' and provides much opportunity to explore or specialise in other related areas.


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