S – V

Speech/Language Coach

As a speech and language therapist (SLT), you would be a specialist in communication disorders. The ability to communicate is central to all that we do – who we are, how we learn and how we relate to each other at home, at school, at work. Your aim should be to help thousands of people who fail to access education, social, economic and career opportunities due to communication difficulties. In your work you would asses and diagnose people under your care who have been referred to you, developing a program of care to maximize their communication potential. You would work to support people with swallowing, eating and drinking difficulties. You would also work directly with a person with communication difficulties but would also be involved in breaking down communication barriers by influencing and supporting other people in the communication environment.

Good interpersonal skills are essential. It is important that you can communicate clearly and are able to listen and so gain the trust of your patients. You would need skills in observation, analysis and problem solving as you work with patients and clients. You would need a flexible and creative approach because what works with one patient would not necessarily work with another. You should also have an interest in both science and language.

You may be interested in other therapy based professions in the medical field, such as occupational therapist, radiographer, physiotherapist or podiatrist. Alternatively, you might be interested in becoming a teacher or a educational or clinical psychologist.

SLTs work 36-hour week, usually Monday to Friday, but you should be prepared to work extra hours occasionally. In private practice, the hours maybe longer and can involve some unsocial hours, but the earnings are likely to be higher. You may be required to travel to different locations during your working day.

Sports Coach

As a sports coach, you would provide coaching on the techniques of sportsmen, to enhance their skills and get the most out of their efforts. You would monitor their technique and performance; help them reach top physical and mental condition; confer, if necessary, with other specialists such as dietitians, physiotherapists or sports psychologists  and explain how the abilities of the individual should relate to those of the team. All areas of sport are covered by coaches, and more opportunities occur at a wider age range than ever before. Coaches in exercise and fitness can be found at in such activities as keep fit, yoga, weight training, circuit training, aerobics, aquafit, step and line dancing, and other movement and fitness classes. They are  likely to be employed by leisure centers or to be self-employed. More and more they are setting up their own clubs and classes, and holiday camps. Outward bound centers, cruise ships, private hotels and even large business organisations employ their own resident trainers. The armed forces, security services, probation and prison services also have instructors to train in fitness and, if appropriate, in self-defence.

In addition to physical fitness, you would need good verbal communication skills, sensitivity to others, the capacity to mix praise and criticism in acceptable doses, powers of analysis  persistence, organisation and stamina. As a professional representative of your sport, you would usually be expected to set an example to others in terms of your behaviour and  appearance.

You might also consider: PE teacher/instructor, professional sports person, youth worker, leisure service manager, teacher, physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath.

This can be only slightly less involving than for the full-time sports person, but possibly without the same level of personal intensity. Nevertheless  it can involve working throughout the day, at weekends  and, for indoor sports, during the evenings. This could be the most unsocial of time schedules to meet the likely demands of clients.

Stockbroker

Your role as a stockbroker would be to buy and sell securities on behalf  of clients. Securities are bonds, stocks and shares, which are used by the government and companies when they wish to raise additional capital. Government bonds carry fixed rates and interests. Company shares can fluctuate in value in accordance with the fortunes of the company and the shareholder can make a profit or loss on them.

It would be very important, therefore, for you to be aware of the details of a company performance and state of health, together with the economic trends of the whole stocks and share market, so that you can advise their clients satisfactory about whether to invest their money, to hold or to sell those shares they already have. Your clients may be individuals, companies  or institutions, such as those acting on behalf of pension funds. Trading is carried out by telephone and computer at the London Stock Exchange.

You should be able to cope with pressure and stress, sufficiently confident to back your own judgement and willing to take risks once you have analysed all the relevant data.

You would need a high standard of computer literacy, as all your dealings would work trough the Stock Exchange computerized settlement system. Good communication skill would be very important, in order to present  detailed information to clients, and honesty and integrity are vita, as you could be dealing with large amounts of other peoples money. Advanced numeracy skills and an understanding of what can affect share prices are also of great importance.

You might also consider: accountant, actuary, market maker, banking executive, economist, financial adviser, insurance broker or investment analyst.

Probably the most obvious effect this career would have on your life would be the high pressure and long hours that it would involve. Global markets may require unsocial hours of work and this would have to be taken into consideration, although it may be a matter of starting early and finishing late rather then working trough the night. It is also quite likely that you would have to take work home with you over the weekend. You would have to be prepared to dress smartly.

Travel Agent

As a Travel Agent you would sell holidays on behalf of tour operators, together with air, ferry, train and coach tickets, hotel reservations, car hire services, tours and expeditions, theatre seats and insurance.

A Good Travel Agent should be friendly, helpful, and most importantly be a good salesperson and an efficient communicator. Knowledge in geography as well as good IT skills are very beneficial.

Related occupations: tour operator, leisure/recreation services manager, or travel and tourism clerk.

You would normally work shop hours from Monday to Saturday, although you may have to work some evenings and Sundays as well in busy shopping centers. You may find that you are required to travel to resorts abroad for research purposes but this would usually be seen as an occasional perk of the job.

Teacher

As a teacher, you would enable pupils to develop their abilities and aptitudes and to fulfill their individual potential. Preparation for the lessons and marking would take up a good deal of your time and you would also have links with parents on parents meetings.
As a teacher you would need to have very good communication skills, to be well organised, a good member of a team but confident enough to work on your own, and consistent, patient and fair with pupils.

Related occupations: careers/personal adviser, educational psychologist, nursery nurse, social worker or youth worker.

Teacher’s life would probably be affected by the need to take work home with them, although good organisation and use of time in the holidays should help to cut this down.

Textile Designer

As a textile designer you would be concerned with the design of a range of fabrics or textiles that would be used mainly for producing clothes, curtains, furnishing fabrics, carpets or wallpaper. You might work initially on paper but you are more likely to use a computer with a specialist software package allowing patterns and colours to be changed rapidly and the designs to be printed out in colour for consideration and approval by clients. You would then produce samples by weaving, knitting or screen printing, taking great care to ensure the right fabrics are used in each case.

To be a successful textile designer you would need to combine artistic creativity, drawing skills and an acute awareness of colour and texture with a good understanding of the technical side of the business. You must be able to communicate your ideas visually and verbally, but also be prepared to see some of them rejected.

Related occupations: fashion, graphic or interior designer or photographer.

A Textile Designer could work either office hours when employed by large groups or long hours (even over weekends) when being self-employed.

Town Planner

Working as a town planner, your job would be to balance the demand for new development and buildings with the diminishing amount of land available. You would be involved with listening to the views of a number of interested parties, including conservationists, builders, farmers and residents, before advising on planning decisions. You would need to consider future developments and demands on amenities as well as the current situation, taking into account such factors as design features, waste and environmental management, transport, urban renewal and employment or recreation demands.

As a town planner you would need to communicate effectively with a wide range of different people and to listen to their views. You would probably be responsible for managing other staff.

Related occupations: civil engineer, architect, landscape architect, surveyor or cartographer.

Most planners who work for local authorities work a 37-hour week although you might be expected to attend planning meetings in the evenings.