The premise I work with is: learn more about yourself; learn more about the world of work; and put these things together to start making good career plans.
This isn’t about the destination. It isn’t about what the work they’ll be doing for the rest of their lives. No, this is about starting well when your teen leaves school. First steps.
So, exploring and learning are essential to this all of this. Good decision making is grounded in four things. Read on to find out what these are and how you can really help your son or daughter with their career decision making.
Parents: you’ve got a lot of clues and evidence of what your teen enjoys. Think about what they love doing, how they spend their down time, hobbies or interests, the kind of sports they play, the subjects they do well in at school – these are clues to developing a strong sense of self-awareness. Take a moment to think through these. Ask your child to do the same. This should be fun. Think in terms of, “I remember when you were 8 and you were totally into ….” Or “You’ve always loved (reading, sport, wildlife …) ” “I love the way you (think deeply, care about animals) …” “You’re really good at (English, maths, science, PDHPE, technology, design …”). There might be some things that they hate too! That’s okay, use this. Use some stories to illustrate your points and let your child tell theirs too.
This step of subject selection is a partnership approach, talk about what you’re learning and make a note of what you’re seeing. This is your awareness, guiding and observing your child’s growing self-awareness. Talk about these things together. The list doesn’t have to be about subject selection or future careers. It is about self-awareness.
Armed with some ideas you can now start working toward increasing your (you and your child’s) understanding of the world of work (exploration) – finding out what’s out there, through formal education, work experience, part time work, targeted resources, information sessions, career expos (at school and out of school), and so on.
By not focusing on making major career decisions, you switch the focus to direction and future options. Parents guide and to do this well you’ll need your experience of the world of work, and some resources for exploration.
One of the best resources around is myfuture. The advice is up to date, reliable and comprehensive. Depending where you are in Australia you may need to purchase a subscription to access the whole site. Articles and advice are available without subscription.
A couple of other excellent resources for you: SkillsOne. Lots of videos on skills and trade areas of work.
The other is SkillsRoad. Again, a great site for exploring and finding useful advice and resources.
A meeting with the school Career Advisor or with a Career Counsellor may also open up thinking further. When I work with students I use a career profile tool that helps with deeper exploration of self, and makes links to the world of work. This is done in an individual meeting that focuses on deepening the young person’s knowledge of themselves, knowledge of the world of work, and bringing these things together to start well.
Decision makingThis isn’t about the destination. It isn’t about what the work they’ll be doing for the rest of their lives. No, this is about starting well when your teen leaves school.
This is about assisting young people to make their preliminary career plans based on a good sense of who they are, what their personal preferences are, and bringing this together into decision making. You are probably aware that certain subjects at school may be prerequisite or recommended for particular courses at university.
The Universities Admission Centre has put together a comprehensive booklet called University Entry Requirements 2020 (Year 10) booklet.
The booklet takes you through all the steps to decision making for subject selection for university study. More info for this process can be found here: Year 10 parents need to know
Having spent time thinking and talking things through, you and your teen should be confident to choose subjects that they will enjoy, do well at, and lead them to the best future opportunities. Schools will present the subject offerings through information sessions, booklets, and generally guide your son or daughter to make good decisions. If the ground work isn’t done, then it really is difficult to proceed confidently.
So it’s easy (easier) when you’ve got a way forward. I’d love to hear how you tackle your career decision making.
Find out more about career counselling for high school students