Adult and Community Education

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Adult and Community Education is necessary and important work. In every society, there are people at risk of social exclusion. There is rarely a single influencing factor. More often, it is as a result of a range of complex issues. Poverty plays a major role, but so too do unemployment, alcohol or drug addiction, mental illness, disability, level of education, and ethnicity. These factors are frequently interrelated, and it is often difficult to separate cause from effect. Therefore, effective assistance can be a challenge.

Adult and community education workers must be attentive, selfless, and non-judgemental in their approaches. They must also be good communicators. They must support and protect to some of the most vulnerable and disaffected groups in the community. These groups include the homeless, sick, elderly, or newly immigrated. A course in Social or Community Work provides students with an opportunity to make a real difference.

Education

Students who want a hands-on career in social work, community care, and community development should do an applied course in Social Care, Social Work, or Community Studies.

Most Institutes of Technology offer Social Care degrees. Students will do modules such as Child Development Psychology, Addiction Studies, Legal Studies and Social Policy. Students also do work experience, and therefore must have Garda clearance. Most graduates work for government agencies or NGOs.

In addition, there is a wide selection of PLC courses in Social and Community Studies. Typical subjects include Applied Psychology, Child Development, Care Provision, and Legal Studies. Regular work experience is also common. Graduates can apply to degree courses. Alternatively, they can work in the private, public, or voluntary care sectors as special needs assistants, youth workers, child carers, and so on.

If you are more interested in the academic aspects of social care provision, a course in Sociology and Social Policy are good options.

Sociology is the study of social groups and the social phenomena that affect them. Students learn about issues such as social mobility, bureaucracy, crime, globalisation, and so forth. In addition, students learn theory and examine the work of thinkers like Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Émile Durkheim. You can take Sociology as an Arts option. Many students do this in tandem with subjects such as Economics, Politics and History.

Social Policy teaches students to critically analyse contemporary social issues. Social Policy prepares students for careers in research bodies, state agencies, local government, and NGOs.

The Work

Social care practitioners work with, and advocate on behalf of a variety of social groups, such as:

  • Children and adolescents in residential care
  • People with intellectual disabilities
  • Alcohol and drug dependents
  • Refugees and asylum seekers
  • Families in the community

Professional social workers differ in that their role includes managerial duties. Examples include arranging residential care, coordinating patient review meetings, and so on.

Social researchers use statistics (quantitative research) and interviews and focus groups (qualitative research) in to analyse issues such as equality of access to employment or social services in a particular area or socio-economic class.

Community workers work with groups of people to improve their lives and solve problems in the community. They work in communities that experience disadvantage. They enable people to identify their needs and rights, and assisting them in working towards these goals.

Further Resources

Irish Association of Social Workers

Department of Social Protection

Social Justice Ireland

 


Whichcollege.ie

Whichcollege.ie is a national database of universities, colleges, institutes and providers of third level and PLC courses in Ireland. We operate a national search database of courses at certificate, diploma and degree level as well as providing information about career paths and directions.
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