How to help your teenager with their career decisions

April 16, 2021
Never before has a generation had to adapt so quickly. Industries, jobs and skills are disappearing and evolving all the time and keeping up with the changes can be a very real challenge.

You can help your child face this new way of navigating their career path by helping them to learn to be agile and resilient.

Be their advocate, encourage them and walk alongside them as they work this out. Not only will you help them make wise decisions, your relationship can be strengthened when they feel trusted and supported.

Career choices are not for life.

A “job for life” mindset is no longer valid. The idea that a certain qualification will set them on a certain path forever is out of date with what actually happens these days. Certainly, their choices now can affect the options available to them but it is almost as certain that whatever path they choose now will not be their last.

Widen your support network

Add friends who your teen trusts, ask people you know in industries your teen has an interest in to talk to them, bring in older and younger contacts to be available to share their experiences with them.

Encourage choosing subjects that are of interest

Notice what subjects spark your child’s interest and gives them energy – you want them to engage with school, not disengage because they aren’t inspired by what they are studying. It pays to help them understand the subjects that will be required if they want to follow certain interests into tertiary study, but also to remember that all is not lost if they require further short-term study to gain access later on. The most important thing is that they want to study and they are interested in what they are learning.

Expand the possibilities they are aware of

Attend theĀ Career Expo, look online, chat with friends, engage with the school career advisor – make sure you and your child feel empowered with knowledge.

Ask questions, challenge beliefs

The key is to manage this without criticising them. Clear up any misunderstandings they may have about work so that they are making choices based on accurate information.

Encourage work experience

The more they are exposed to, the more they will understand if that is right for them or not. Paid or volunteer work develops a positive work ethic and builds confidence and competence.