Take a look at our guide on how you can talk to your child about their career. We cover work experience, apprenticeship options and much more.
Talking to your child about their career is an essential conversation in any household. Striking a balance between being support without piling on too much pressure can be very difficult. However, it’s essential that you begin taking an interest in their future and their career, to encourage them to do the same.
This has been an immensely challenging year for everybody, but children and young people have faced some of the highest disruption levels. Feeling anxiety about the future will be extremely common for all our students, which is why it’s even more important that you feel equipped to have that career discussion with them.
As we move further into 2021, it’s a good idea to start looking ahead to any transitions your child might be going through in the next year. Maybe they are picking their GCSE options, deciding what A-levels to do, or maybe filling out their UCAS form for university. Whatever stage of education they are at, now is the time to encourage that conversation about future career paths.
5 Effective Ways to Talk About Careers with Your Child
Listen to Your Child First
It’s essential that your child feels that they can express what they want for their future without the conversation being dominated by your expectations and wishes for them. While it’s great to want the best for your child and to hope that they do well, you mustn’t push them into a career or job that you want them to do, rather than one that they want to do. Take the time to listen to what interests them and what they feel motivated by. And then from there, you can begin to support them with some practical reminders.
Let Go of Your Prejudices and Stereotypes
Everybody has perceived ideas in their head of what something is like, without actually knowing the facts and the details. This is especially true for careers. A common problem between parents and children is that parents bring stereotypes about a type of career that their child might be interested in, without actually knowing what the job or qualification is.
For example, many parents still hold the stereotype of apprenticeships being only in construction and for young people who aren’t very academic. Whereas in reality, apprenticeships have changed and grown rapidly over the last few years and are a really valuable way to earn a wage and continue learning. In 2018/19 44% of apprenticeships started were at an advanced level.
Start the Conversation Early
Don’t pressure yourself and your child to have one big career discussion the night before they need to make some choices. Slowly introduce talking about the future and what jobs they might be interested in the family dialogue. This way, when those more significant conversations do need to happen, it won’t be entirely new terrain. You could do this by beginning to talk to your children about what you do, or other family members do to spark their interest, but without adding the pressure of them needing to contribute.
Encourage Them to do Work Experience
Some schools integrate work experience into the school year and make it an essential part of learning, but not all children get this opportunity. If you can, try to encourage your child to do some work experience over the school holidays. This way, they can start to think about what they do and don’t want to do in the future. Show them that trying things out is an excellent way to decide what they want to do, and it can help remove the pressure of finding one perfect career.
Show Them That These are Exciting Choices, Not Scary Ones
One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to show your child that making choices about the future doesn’t have to be scary; it can be really exciting. You can do this by talking to them about what they are good at, and what you think their excellent skills and qualities are, and together you can begin to think about how they might apply some of these skills to a career. The average worker is predicted to have 12 to 15 different jobs in their lifetime, and for lots of people, it can take that many before they find the right one. Try to show your child that this is all part of the journey, and they will get there in the end.