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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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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You will be provided with a grounding in computer networking technologies, electronics and communications and web development, together with a knowledge of business operations, management and finance.

Expertise and practical experience is gained to enable you to diagnose, repair and maintain computer and network hardware and system software. For example, you will be able to evaluate and upgrade computer systems. You will also be able to support all peripheral equipment which connects to computer networks, so that you will be able to support the services that this equipment provides to users. You will also gain experience in controlling external devices using computers, e.g. surveillance systems, robots, industrial automation systems, etc.

Software is also an integral part of all networks so you will be able to install and maintain a wide range of network and system software, including operating systems, such as Windows, UNIX and Linux. You gain valuable skills in network security, web design and web services.

An industry standard education coupled with four to seven month work/business placement will complement your academic learning and ensure that on graduation you can immediately apply your skills.

This programme has an emphasis on continuous assessment. A great deal of your time will be spent working on assignments and projects. You will learn by doing and working on hands-on applications rather than from theory. You acquire the skills needed in these areas by using them in real life situations as part of your assignments and projects. Some modules still retain an end of semester exam.

The programme is structured to permit exit after successful completion of Year 2 with a Higher Certificate.

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