Extensive international research clearly shows that even primary children benefit greatly from talking about careers. Right from the first year at secondary school you can certainly help your child become more career savvy. It’s never too early to go along to Open Days and have fun investigating the many wonderful courses and careers these lead to. Career knowledge empowering and motivating for young people.
Open Days are a great way to start junior secondary students thinking about possible careers. Early secondary school students are also far more likely to want parents along for the ride than older students who think it’s not cool to be seen with parents at such events. (If you are really lucky, you may still be invited along for the ride right up to the final year your child is at secondary school.)
Remember to be sensitive to your child’s career choices. Never slam a choice as being unrealistic, foolish or not acceptable. The recent comment about wanting to be a tattooist rather than an architect could lead to your downfall if you hit the roof. Be diplomatic. “Both careers are great for artistic people. Find out more about both.” Now leave it at that. Play it cool and hope for the best. And if your teen still wants to be a tattooist five years down the track, hide your tears and let them give it a go. Young people love it when parents respect their opinions. Often they will change their mind many times so the best way to react to what you see as a horrifying career choice is not to react at all. Stay calm. Pray.
Here are FIVE ways to help your teenager consider possible CAREERS.
- Talk about careers when the opportunity arises – but not at every meal and every time you run into a family friend. Many teenagers don’t even understand the careers their parents work in. In family conversations, talk about the highlights of your work. Weave in information about other roles at your workplace or careers friends work in.
- Keep encouraging your teen to attend Open Days each year they are at secondary school. Offer to go along or to drop them at the event.
- Most tertiary institutions have holiday seminars and workshops to give students a taste of various courses and career areas. Jump onto institution websites and share information with your teen. “I thought you might be interested in this…have a think about it…” is a far better approach than, “You should go to thi”
- Keep up with the tertiary system, the types of courses available, pathways into popular courses and the tertiary and career terminology associated with all of this. There is an enormous amount of career information for secondary students to process. By being familiar with the post-secondary system and course/career terminology, parents can help teens look through literature and websites and lessen the stress – particularly for anxious students. University and TAFE websites are a good place to find heaps of great information.
- Make sure your teen knows that you are open to them considering all institutions as well as all careers. Pressure to get the score to attend one particular institution can weigh heavily on a young person. Remember that as far as careers are concerned, many roads do lead to Rome! If you teen is considering a tertiary course that requires academic results being in the top 1 or 2% of the state, imagine how you would feel in this situation. For the majority of students, this isn’t exactly a comforting scenario. Investigate easier-to-get-into courses that can lead into this competitive course. There are TAFE courses that lead on to university courses and credit is given for the TAFE studies. Sometimes it is possible to gain entry to a university course and then, with good results, transfer into the original dream course.