Help for Parents

Teenagers today are spoilt for choice when it comes to thinking about the career paths they can carve. Whatever they love, whatever they’re interested in, there is every chance that with careful career planning, they will have fulfilling and ever-changing working lives.

As a parent, you want what’s best for your children. Decisions about careers, tertiary study and trade training are some of the biggest your children will make, so it’s no surprise they’ll need a helping hand from you to get them on track with their thinking.

Helping your children prepare for a changing working life

For most young people there are numerous choices and your children will continue to make significant decisions about training and jobs throughout their working lives. They will change direction several times – sometimes through careful planning and sometimes through unexpected circumstances.
Encourage your children to see learning and skill development as something that happens all the time. Support them to try new activities, to be involved in a range of different things.

It’s ok to take a few risks and make mistakes – it's just part of the learning process and your children will learn the importance of being flexible.

The way your children make decisions about jobs, training and careers when they’re starting out will affect the way they make decisions in the future too. Making informed decisions and plans based on reliable information as well as their own strengths, interests and values is a great way to start.

  • Supporting your children as they explore what they can do after leaving school
  • Research shows that YOU as a parent, are very influential in your teenager’s career decision making
  • Therefore it is important that you talk to them about what they can see themselves doing

Questions like:

  • What are your strengths?
  • What are the things you really enjoy and are interested in?
  • Do you see yourself doing further study?
  • Doing something practical?
  • What is important to you? Is it helping people?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 and in 10 years time?
  • Is working outside or inside preferable?

Talking to your son or daughter and getting them to think about these kinds of things is a good way to start working out the jobs and industries they might like to work in or find out more about. Encourage your son or daughter to do some research and find out more about the areas they’re interested in. It’s really valuable for them to speak with family members or people in their community about different jobs.

Subject choices at school also affect the career, study and training options available to you later. So, as a parent, it’s important to help your children make informed subject choices.

Contact Career Services for information, advice and support. Career Services can provide you with information about the types of jobs your children could go into, what they involve, employment prospects and trends, the courses that are available, and preparing for the world of work.

Career Services is a government agency and we provide independent information and advice on training, jobs and careers to anyone who needs it. We do lots of work with young people who are thinking about what they’d like to do in the future and how they can make that happen.

A good place to start is to give one of our friendly careers advisors a call on 0800 222 733. They can help you find what you’re looking for and post you out information. You can also have a look through the information on this website, or chat online to a careers adviser.

Give Them Five

A team of experienced career development practitioners has come up with five key messages that will help you to support your child’s career learning.

Known as the “High Five” of Career Development, these messages will help if your child doesn’t yet have an answer to the question: What are you going to be when you grow up?

One - Change is constant

Taking a flexible approach when planning a new career can greatly assist when unexpected changes happen. Making plans is great - adjusting them along the way can also assist in creating new opportunities.

Two - Follow your heart

Encouraging your child to dream of a future full of different types of career choices enables them to explore and expand their career possibilities. What may appear to be an unconventional or unrealistic choice may just be the very thing that materialises into a career for your child.

Three - Focus on the journey

Enjoying the journey to your child’s career destination is vital. Whilst outcomes are important, remembering to explore and experiment with different career paths can be productive and lots of fun for both of you.

Four - Keep learning

Keeping up to date and adapting to change is important in today’s environment. Learning comes from many experiences not only workplace training but also from everyday activities such as using social network sites on your PC, being part of a community group, sporting teams and family members.

Five - Be an ally

While wanting young people to be self directed we also want them to feel part of a community that cares for them. Being a career “ally” is part of being a support network for those who are exploring career paths. These support networks can consist of parents, neighbours, family, friends and employers and can be a terrific support for your child when making career choices.

(Acknowledgement: The High Five of Career Development were developed by Dave Redekopp and others)