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 Mary Ita Heffernan from Health Service Executive to give some advice for people considering this job:

Mary Ita Heffernan

Social Worker

Health Service Executive

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Mary Ita Heffernan

Whilst in secondary school, I changed my mind many a time regarding the career path I wanted to pursue! I always knew that I wanted to work with people but was unsure about the profession which would most suit my interests and skills in this regard.

While in school, I definitely found that being unsure about the type or area of work you want to pursue is a very difficult and confusing position to be in, especially given the array of career choices now available and the pressure one feels in trying to make one’s mind up.

To this end, I would strongly advise anybody in this position to research courses and job descriptions well in order to make the most informed decision possible at that time in your life. 

I recommend one tries to gain as much work experience as possible as it will provide you with valuable insight into your skills, ability, likes/dislikes for certain areas of employment!!!!

Also I would research the courses and job areas as much as possible so that you can make an informed decision regarding your choices. If you can't gain enough information in school, contact the college directly or arrange to talk to somebody who facilitates the course. In particular, it would be really valuable to talk to somebody in the profession to gain a realistic and practical insight into the job.

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Social?
Social
The Social person's interests focus on some aspect of those people in their environment. In all cases the social person enjoys the personal contact of other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people, and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
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Sector Profiles
School Subjects (LC)
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Work Experience (School)
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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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