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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Naturalist?
Naturalist
Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalists interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.

Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results, and prefer action to talking and discussing.
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Adult Learner

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Further Education - (2 & 3)


Courses in Ed Zone 2 include the Leaving Certificate and many one-year PLC (Post Leaving Cert) and FETCH (Further Education and Training) courses.

Some PLC colleges also offer two-year programes (Advanced Certificates: Level 6) which may also fall into the Ed Zone 3 category.

PLC & FetchCourses

PLC courses are run around the country and provide an excellent opportunity to study an area of interest, for either the fun of learning, or to gain an award that can be later used to access employment or a third level education. Most PLC courses are QQI accredited, though some are not. Those that are not may be accredited by a internationally recognised UK body (e.g. City & Guilds, ITEC etc.).

Notes:

  • Most PLC courses lead to a QQI Level 5 Certificate and last one year.
  • Competition for places is competitive.
  • Entry requirements are usually a pass Leaving Cert or QQI equivalent qualification and normally be subject to an interview.
  • Many courses allow progression into a second year in the same college.
  • Some PLC courses lead to a QQI Level 6 Advanced Certificate or equivalent, and last 2 years.
  • Most PLC courses can be used to enter Third Level courses using what is known as Progression RoutesNote: If the course that interests you offers or accepts progression pathways to level 6, 7 and 8 courses this green link   will appear beside the course information.
Go to PLC Search Wizard hereSearch for PLC Courses here.

FetchCourses.ie is a course search for Further Education & Training courses in Ireland.

Leaving Certificate

Many adult learners decide to do the leaving certificate, particularly if they did not get an opportunity when they were younger and use it as pathway to returning to education.

If you want to do the Leaving Certificate, you should contact your local ETB (Education and Training Board) and ask for information. 

Find your local ETB

Repeat Leaving Certificate

Education and Training Boards offer repeat Leaving Certificate courses in a number of colleges throughout the country. Some private colleges also offer repeat Leaving Certificate courses. Repeat classes tend to be small, which allows for individual attention. They also typically have a big focus on study skills.

Enrolment and advice on subject choices generally takes place from the beginning of August to mid September each year, depending on the college.

The cost of doing a repeat Leaving Certificate varies. ETB colleges are the less expensive option. Students are advised to check with their local ETB to see exactly what costs are involved. If you opt to repeat with a private college the cost is likely to be considerably higher.

Contact your local Adult Education Guidance Service (AEGI) based in the ETB if you are thinking of repeating your Leaving Certificate. 

To find contacts for your local Adult Guidance Initiative or ETB visit OneStepUp.ie

Access Programmes

These are an alternative entry route to Third Level education. Access programmes are usually aimed at mature students (over 23 years) who missed out on getting into college directly from school. They involve doing a 'foundation' year college concerned which is designed to prepare learners for university-level learning and life, while studying in a subject area such as the humanities, or science. The main universities all offer access programmes. Some  guarantee entry to a certain degree programmes, once course assessment criteria are met. For more information about access programmes in universities and colleges in Ireland, follow the links below:

CIT - click here

DCU - click here

DIT - Click here

NUI Galway - click here

TCD - click here

UCD - click here

University of Limerick (UL) - click here