Families want to ensure their children believe in themselves so that they can lead happy and successful lives. Our children look to us for advice and guidance even if they don’t like to admit it! It’s never too soon to think about careers, qualities, skills and interests, we would encourage you to focus on career options from Year 7 onwards (if you haven’t already done so).
Families have a key role to play in decision-making processes and the general career path your child chooses to pursue. Sometimes it is difficult to know how involved to be. Should you adopt a hands-on role? What is the best advice you can give your child? When do you need to get involved?
We have all adopted beliefs about success, how to be successful and what constitutes a ‘good job’ or ‘ideal life’. We may have personal opinions on the ‘right’ education paths but often things have moved on since we were in our child’s situation. Anything we feed back to our children is based on our beliefs and our own experiences. So long as we recognise our potential personal biases we should build on our experience and research further to ensure we can best support our child with their career decisions.
The most important thing we can do to support our child is to keep communicating and provide the tools to help them make their own informed decisions.
The Parent zone in Career Pilot can provide information to help parents and carers support young people in making the right decision about study and work https://www.careerpilot.org.uk/parent-zone
How you can influence your child:
- Regularly speak to your child about various careers that you encounter on a daily basis
- Highlight the skills that your child possesses
- Set a good example (socially, personally and professionally) for your child
- Share positive attitudes, views and values
- Support your child to adopt high aspirations regarding their education, career and life
- Provide and enable students to take opportunities to learn and develop.
Practical ideas to help your child:
All Year groups:
- Review your child’s suggested job roles with your child on https://www.unifrog.org and research potential roles and pathways
- Discuss the careers activities that take place at the school with your child
- Book an appointment with our Careers Advisor if there is specific information you require
- Contact the National Careers Service if you would like specific advice https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/contact-us
- Discuss your child’s Careers Advice Plan (written by our independent Careers Advisor) – these appointments usually take place in Year 11 and 13.
- Attend the Sixth Form Options Evening with your child
- Take your child on University Open Days
- Help find a work experience placement for your child Year 10 and Year 12 (and potentially offer to other students)
- Help your child edit their personal statement and CV
- Help your child edit their application forms (University / apprenticeship / employment)
- Help research and discuss possible next steps (University / apprenticeship / employment)
In terms of career choice, we should:
- Aid, but not dictate, the decision-making process
- Support our child’s decisions
- Give our children freedom and time to discover their skills
- Provide motivation to develop and achieve
- Provide encouragement to pursue interests and ambitions
- Try to instil a responsible attitude and mature outlook
- Instil an attitude of self-belief by being positive and never critical – as responsible adults, our words are likely to have the biggest effect on our children.
What we should bear in mind when helping our child with education choices
Everyone has a unique set of skills and aptitudes. Each child is individual in their own way, and so may possess different skills and abilities to other members of their family. With this in mind, adopting a similar career role to a family member may not be the right course of action.
We all take time to ‘find our feet’. We may say things such as “pick a course you think you’ll like” or “why don’t you apply for this job”. Though it may seem that we’re doing the right thing in terms of steering our children in the right direction, we also need to remember that we all need space and time to discover what we truly want to pursue. University, for example, isn’t for everyone; engaging in relevant work experience and/or undertaking an apprenticeship can be just as valuable in finding a suitable vocation in which you can thrive.
We aim to educate children that life is about self-discovery and new skills and talents are developed. How many of us are in careers we thought we would be in when we were 18? We can only make decisions based on what we know about ourselves at the time. We need to let our children know that it’s okay that they aren’t sure what they want to do yet but the important thing is to be proactive in finding their way.
This can often be a stressful time not only for our students but also for families. The latest issue of Careermag for Parents is available for our students’ and their families to sit down together to look at all the qualification and career routes available. There are articles about options for school leavers and key dates to put on your calendar.
The magazine features:
- Top Tips for Parents
- University challenge
- UCAS dates
- Degree and Higher Apprenticeships
- 20 things you need to know about Apprenticeships
- Qualifications Guide
- Four industries
Success at School – Parent Career Magazine
Success at School is a national careers website for students aged 11-19, as well as their teachers, careers advisors, parents and other influencers. Young people can learn about their future career options through no-nonsense careers advice related to their own experiences.
As well as covering topics such as career paths, industries, apprenticeships, university and employability skills, they connect schools and students to employers and universities through opportunities on their site and their interactive forums.
Click here for the latest parent advice and the latest copy of the parent magazine.