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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Realist?
Realist
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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Volunteer Opportunities


Voluntary work is a good way to learn new skills, gain work experience and get involved in your local community.

You may do some unpaid work as a volunteer and keep your social welfare payment. If you want to do voluntary work, you must first get permission from a Deciding Officer at your Social Welfare Local Office. You must continue to satisfy the conditions of your jobseeker’s payment. You must apply under the voluntary work option before you start any voluntary work.

To apply, fill in application form (VW1), which is available from your Social Welfare Local Office.

Volunteering and Your CV

The value of the experience of volunteering and what it brings to your CV is a great reason to volunteer. As a way of getting a start on a particular career path, volunteering is a great way to get experience. It often becomes a foot in the door into the sector and it will most certainly help those interested to gain specific knowledge and understanding of a given organisation. People often gain paid employment as a result of volunteering.

Another big advantage of volunteering is skill set – volunteering strengthens your skill set and equips you for the world of work – people skills; communication skills; team building skills; practical skills - all can be developed by volunteering.

Finding Voluntary Work

Many organisations are dependant on the commitment of Volunteers to sustain their services. In particular, within the community and voluntary sector volunteering is about giving, contributing, and helping other individuals and the community at large. Over 63,000 full-time and part-time staff are employed in the community and voluntary sector, but it might be a surprise to learn that volunteers provide the equivalent work of a further 31,000 people!

So, if you have a particular interest in a charity or organiation you can contact them to see if they recruit Volunteers. Also, there are agencies that have lists of Volunteer opportunities on their websites including:

Volunteer Ireland

This is the National Volunteer Development Agency and a support body for over 20 Volunteer Centres in Ireland.

To search opportunities: click here
To find your nearest Volunteer centre: click here

Activelink

Activelink.ie is an online network for Irish community and non-profit organisations. They provide information on jobs, tenders, volunteering, events, fundraising, training, publications and funding in these sectors.

To search opportunities: click here
To search their jobs:      click here


Volunteering Abroad

There are incredible openings in a wide breadth of countries around the world for a whole range of skills and roles. The world of volunteering is a lot more diverse and vibrant than people realise.

To find out more: click here

 



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