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.


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.
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Junior Cycle - 1st Year

The Junior Cycle programme runs over three years and culminates in the Junior Certificate Examination. There are three core subjects:

  • English
  • Irish
  • Maths

CSPE (Civic, Social & Personal Education) is also compulsory

Currently the overall number of subjects taken at Junior Cert varies from school to school but generally falls between eight and ten. However this is set to change with the introduction of the new Junior Cycle Student Award (JCSA) Programme in all secondary schools by September 2014.

The main points of significance in relation to the new JCSA programme are:

  • A cap  on the total number of subjects taken at Junior Certificate Level to eight
  • Potential for Short courses in 16 new areas including Chinese Language & Culture, Leadership & Web Design
  • Revised Assessment arrangements
  • 24 Statements of Learning
  • Focus on 8 Key Skills to be embedded in the learning outcomes and appropriate to the age of the learner




Managing Myself

Managing Information & Thinking

Working with Others



Staying well

Being Creative


+ All to include Working with New Technologies


  • A combination of CORE subjects, subjects and short courses

You can download more in depth information here

The concepts of Careers and The World of Work are introduced as part of the school curriculum in 1st year. Developing Self Management & a Sense of Purpose and the study of Influences & Decisions are included in the SPHE programme.  In some schools there is also timetabled Careers Guidance provision for Junior Cycle students.

When picking subjects in first year, apart from the three core subjects, look at the following:

  • Enjoyment of and general interest in subject
  • General career requirement – e.g. Science subject, third language, business subject
  • Subject clusters / groupings / choice bands
  • Streaming / mixed ability / banding

Useful links:

Junior Cycle Subjects