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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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A career in the Charity and Voluntary Sector

Learn about careers in charity sector, volunteering experience and opportunities abroad

A career in the Charity and Voluntary Sector

Anyone who has been involved in a community project or charity organisation can see how valuable the experience can be. Devoting your time and energy to an initiative that is designed to serve the greater good of humanity is undoubtedly rewarding. Very little can compare to knowing that you have made a difference in people's lives or in your community, whether that is giving somebody an opportunity they did not have before, providing them with one of life's necessities that is usually inaccessible to them, or simply just making their life that little bit easier.

While many who undertake this work do so on a part-time or voluntary basis, there are also many who carve careers in the Charity and Voluntary sector. Some are able to harness their drive to improve the lives of those around them and align it with their personal career goals.  For those who pursue this path, the satisfaction of making a difference in people's lives makes working in this sector a no brainer.

There are many types of community and charity organisations in which those in the sector can find employment. Most of these organisations are registered charities, community resources or non-governmental organisations. A unifying element across these bodies is that their purpose lies in a benevolent goal like providing an essential resource or alleviating a source of hardship, rather than turning a profit. This is one of the reasons why many are drawn to this industry. Organisations can specialise in anything from the prevention of homelessness to environmental advocacy, and disease prevention to tackling social injustice. Some of these organisations include the Simon Community, the Irish Cancer Society and the Irish Civil Liberties Union.

Many are surprised to learn of the variety of roles available in the charity sector. Some of the roles are what one would typically expect of a charity and include general charity workers, volunteer coordinators and humanitarian workers. However, there are also numerous positions in marketing, communications and administration, to name just a few areas. The Charity sector also offers many opportunities to work abroad. Many larger charities and advocacy organisations, such as UNICEF, the Red Cross, and Trócaire, operate internationally and recruit workers for deployment to the most disadvantaged and disaster-stricken areas of the world. There are also opportunities to volunteer abroad while studying, which can be a great way to build up experience in this sector. SUAS recruits volunteers to work as teaching assistants in India, Kenya and Zambia, with the hopes of improving literacy in these countries, and many college students take the opportunity to do this during their summer holidays.

There are also a number of ways to get involved in volunteering and paid charity work within Ireland. Many charities require fundraisers to engage directly with the public at a face-to-face level. Oxfam and Amnesty International frequently recruit for city centre-based fundraisers. In addition to this, many third-level institutions have resident student branches of Ireland's leading charities. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul has a strong presence across Irish colleges and universities, and there are also many opportunities for third-level students to engage in tuition programmes where they can help school children from socioeconomically-disadvantaged backgrounds with their schoolwork.

There is evidently a multitude of ways in which to get involved in volunteering and charity work in Ireland. Those who are particularly determined to follow this path will likely be interested in a course of study which will lend itself well to the Charity sector. One of the most popular is Social Work, and other courses include Community Development, and Youth Work. 

There are many opportunities for those who wish to work for non-for-profit organisations and charitable initiatives within the sector itself, but private companies are increasingly using their resources to contribute to the betterment of society. In recent years, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has ascended the ranks in terms of business priorities for some of the most well-known companies operating in Ireland. Many of these companies offer their employees the opportunity to take a hands-on approach to their internal CSR initiatives and entrust employees with the organisation of various fundraising activities, which are often in partnership with registered charities. This type of charity work can prove very beneficial, as the resources larger companies offer and the scale at which they can fundraise can lead to great success in charitable endeavours. This can be a great way for those who work outside of the Charity sector itself to do their part in raising the funds to change people's lives.

To find out more about careers in the Community & Voluntary Sector, click here.
To find out more about careers in the Social Work Sector, click here.

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