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:
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.
What are your interests?
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
All over Ireland, lots of people are returning to learning and improving their reading, writing and maths. They are people who want to catch up on what they missed at school, parents who want to help children with their homework and those who would simply like to write a letter home. Whatever the reason for going back to learning, the benefits are always the same. Not only do people improve their old skills, but they also gain the confidence to learn new ones.
A new OECD survey shows that 1 in 6 Irish adults has difficulty understanding basic written text. 1 in 4 people find it difficult to do simple maths calculations. See: Adult Skills Survey.
If you are interested, or know someone else who could benefit from a course contact your local Adult Education Officer (AEO) in your nearest ETB (Education and Training Board) for advice.
In the past literacy was considered to be the ability to read and write. Today the meaning of literacy has changed to reflect changes in society and the skills needed by individuals to participate fully in society. It involves listening, speaking, reading, writing, numeracy and using everyday technology to communicate and handle information.
The aim of NALA’s Distance Learning Service is to provide high quality free distance learning opportunities targeted at improving literacy without regards to social, economic and cultural backgrounds and taking account of all levels of technical ability.
www.writeon.ie is NALA’s interactive web site to help people improve their reading, writing and numbers skills online. The content is pitched at QQI Level 2 and Level 3. Users can study at the own pace and in their own time to improve their skills or get a national qualification. Users of the site can have their skills assessed across a number of areas and then be prescribed an individual learning plan to improve these areas. At the end of the learning phase, users are presented with an opportunity to have their skills assessed and request a national qualification. This is the first time that accreditation at this level has been offered in Ireland using the Internet.
Freephone Literacy Support
NALA operates a year round freephone support line and receives approximately 10,000 calls per annum from adults enquiring about how they can improve their literacy skills. The freephone support line is operational throughout the year and is staffed by experienced operators who can identify learner’s needs and advise them on literacy services available to them. Much of the work carried out on the phone involves listening to caller’s previous and often negative experience of education and reassuring them that adult education is a very positive experience.
Following this callers are usually referred to their local ETB literacy service for one-to-one or group tuition; linked with a literacy tutor who will tutor them over the phone; and/ or posted relevant material.