Helping your teen with their career options

Teenagers have lots of career options but navigating them is not always easy.

Career assistance is one of the biggest areas of change within our schools. There are now programs and information to help teenagers decide what they want to do when they leave school. There are also a number of different pathways to obtaining qualifications and experience.

Most schools offer careers advice services for students from Year 10, but the advice for parents is to start the conversation with their teens in Year 9. Even if your son/daughter is planning to go on to Year 12, exploring their options early will help them choose senior subjects that are relevant to their aspirations.

Here are some tips to help you and your teens:

  1. Talk to your teen about what they want really want to do. Their ideas about their future may differ from yours, but remember a happy worker will always be more satisfied than one who is stuck in a career they do not like.
  2. Encourage them to use the internet to research the career paths of people in the public eye or people that they admire. You might be surprised at the route that took them to their final career.
  3. Share with them how you started your career and what you did to advance along the way. Encourage your teens to talk with other family members, friends, neighbours and your colleagues and associates.
  4. Use the careers advisor and teachers at school. Discuss what other students have done and how they got there. They can also advise you on other resources and opportunities for learning about careers.
  5. If your teen is specifically interested in a field, help them find potential events/talks that they could attend to find out more.
  6. Visit career fairs and skills shows with your teenager.
  7. If you can, take your teen to work with you one day, or see if another family member or friend would be prepared to do this so that they can get some insight into working life.
  8. Encourage your teen to discuss work experience opportunities through the school. Many schools organise work-experience days for students to give them a taste of what it is like to work in a particular field.
  9. Give them the confidence to ‘have a go’. Remind them that people have to start somewhere when launching their careers, and they can make changes along the way.

Remember it is not essential that your teenagers know what they want to do when they leave. They just need to know what options are available and to put themselves in a position to take those that suit them. The Skillsroad website has some more info that might help.