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 James Stewart from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:


James Stewart

Science Communicator

Smart Futures

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  James Stewart
Get some experience even if it is voluntary work so that you have an idea if you like the sector and you will have something to talk about at interview.

The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with clever technology. They will often follow the latest developments in their chosen field, and prefer mentally stimulating environments.
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Rural Social Scheme

The Rural Social Scheme (RSS) is aimed at low-income farmers and fishermen/women.

To qualify for the RSS you must be getting a social welfare payment. In return, people participating in the RSS provide services that benefit rural communities. For example:

  • Maintaining and enhancing various walking routes
  • Energy conservation work for older people and those at risk of poverty
  • Village and countryside enhancement projects
  • Social care and care of older people
  • Community care for pre-school and after-school groups
  • Environmental maintenance work
  • Projects relating to not-for-profit cultural and heritage centres
  • Community administration or clerical work
  • Any other appropriate community based project identified during the scheme

Participants in the scheme work 19.5 hours per week. These hours are to ensure participation on the scheme does not affect your farming/fishing activities.

If you get a place on the RSS Scheme, you are offered a contract from your start date up to the following 31st March. You may be considered for a further term following the initial contract, if you continue to meet all the criteria for the Scheme.

As this scheme is administered locally, you should contact your local RSS implementing body for further information or an application form. 

Further information on the RSS scheme is also available click here

  Hint: St. Michael's House
As part of St Michael's house we are sent on training in various areas relevant to our job. These include First Aid, Manual Handling, Challenging Behaviour Training, Sexual Abuse Training, Training in Individual Personal Plans (which are each clients individual yearly goals) and Health and Safety training.

I personally have an interest in Bereavement Counselling and plan to undertake the course provided by this organisation when possible. Outside of work I am completing a Foundation Certificate in Psychotherapy and Counselling as it continues to be an area of special interest for me.

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