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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 Lisa Kelly from Health Service Executive to give some advice for people considering this job:
Get some experience working with both children and the elderly and feel comfortable working with both. Throughout college you will take part in clinical placements where you will be required to work with various age groups.
Work hard in school and achieve good Leaving Cert. results in order to get the necessary points for entry into the course.
Research the career thoroughly and arrange to speak with a speech and language therapist to discuss the job further.
Think about the personal characteristics mentioned below that are important for the job and think about whether you possess these characteristics
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Aoife Lyons, Occupational Psychologist
Aoife works as an Occupational Psychologist for the Public Appointments Service and is based in Dublin. After completing her primary degree, she completed her Masters in Occupational Psychology in the University of Manchester. She is directly involved in the selecting and designing of aptitude tests for various roles in the Civil Service, and in interpreting the results of these.
For my Leaving Certificate I did the standard subjects and German, Geography, Biology and Business Studies. I knew quite early on that I didn't want to do Accountancy or anything that would require more than one science subject so I was able to study the subjects that I liked. There really isn't anything that I would have done differently.
After my Leaving Cert, I completed a degree in Occupational Psychology in the University of Ulster, Magee College. The degree has changed since I completed it, but at the time it was the only University that offered this specialism so that is why I went there. It was a three year degree, but I took a leave of absence for a year after my second year and went to the States to study Business Administration as part of the Business Education Initiative, sponsored by the British, Irish and American Governments.
On completion of my degree I did a Masters in Occupational Psychology in the University of Manchester (UMIST). I am a member of both the British Psychological Society and the Psychological Society of Ireland, so Continuous Professional Development is very important and I try to consistently update my skills. I have completed a diploma in Employment Law, courses in Item Response Theory and other Statistical techniques, as well as attending a number of conferences and presenting at several others.
My first job was as a Consultant Occupational Psychologist, and as part of that job I did a number of courses that were required to do my job, including courses on Occupational Testing, the use of Personality Questionnaires, Job Analysis, Consultancy Skills and many others. As previously mentioned, to meet the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) requirements set out for psychologists, I have to continuously update my skills. For example, I recently completed a course on Facilitation Skills delivered in house. The Public Appointments Service is very supportive of our training so I hope to keep upskilling while I work here.
I was very lucky in that my Degree and Masters were both very relevant to the work that I do now. If I had not done my Masters, I would not have been able to practice as a psychologist. In particular the modules that I did on recruitment and selection have been very valuable. I always enjoyed subjects where there was a practical element, for example where you had to carry out research projects. The skills that I learned I use on a daily basis.