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 Caitriona Jackman from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Caitriona Jackman

Planetary Scientist

Smart Futures

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  Caitriona Jackman
If you are considering full-time scientific research, try to get a work placement in a university department so you can see first hand what it’s like. It’s a relatively relaxed, flexible environment, but there is a certain degree of self-motivation needed. 

So I would say you need to be able to push  yourself and be proactive in terms of setting up collaborations with other scientists etc.
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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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What is Disability

There is  no standard definition of disability, despite much debate on the issue. Current definitions vary across Europe.

In the Irish context, the legal definition of disability is outlined in the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004 and the Disability Act 2005. This definition is broad and includes people who have physical, learning, sensory, psychiatric or medical conditions. In contrast, the EPSEN Act 2004 defines special educational needs as ‘a restriction in the capacity of the person to participate in and benefit from education on account of an enduring physical, sensory, mental health or learning disability, or any other condition which results in a person learning differently from a person without that condition’.

The trend in recent years has been for definitions of disability to reflect the shift from a medical a social model of disability, which has a focus on environmental factors. It holds that people with disabilities are prevented from achieving their full potential, not because of their abilty, but by the attitudes and conventions of society at large.

In the social model, a disabled person might have certain impairments, but it is the barriers in the environment (i.e attitudes, discriminatory practices, or stairs without ramps, etc.) and in the world around them, which actually ’disable’ a person.

A report from The Review Group on Access and Participation of Students with Disabilities in Higher Education used the following definition:

'A student is disabled if he/she requires a facility which is outside of the mainstream of the college in order to participate fully in Higher Education and without which the student would be educationally disadvantaged in comparison with their peers'.

People may choose to keep the fact that they have a disabilty private. Disabilities are not always visible - for example, it may not be obvious that a person is deaf, or has a learning disability. Mental illness can also be an invisible diability.

Visible disabilities on the other hand, are noticeable through casual observation - an immediately recognisable physical impairment might be obvious by the presence of a guide dog, or a wheelchair.

A person may have multiple physical disabilities caused by a primary condition such as Cerebral Palsy, but have perfect mental and cognitive ability.

People who have acquired disabilities, following an accident or an illness, may face additional challenges in making physical or psychological adjustments to their new situation.

The important fact is that whatever the disability, there is also ABILITY, and the person should always come first - their disability is not the totality of who they are in the world.

Students too are much more than their disability, and in the context of education and career guidance, it is important to respond to their needs on an individual basis.

Check out the new DisAbility access Map from AHEAD



Useful Links
AHEAD - Association for Higher Education Access and Disability  
Independent non-profit organisation working to promote full access to and participation in further and higher education for students with disabilities and to enhance their employment prospects on graduation
Center for Independent Living 
A National Voice for Independent Living in Ireland
Disability Federation of Ireland - DFI 
National support organisation for voluntary disability organisations in Ireland who provide services to people with disabilities and disabling conditions
Enable Ireland 
Provides free services to children and adults with disabilities and their families.