Helping your child find a career they’ll love

25th January 2021

Most parents are pleased when their child finally finishes high school. All those years in the classroom have come to an end and they get to watch with pride as their child starts to make their own way in the world. But for some parents this can be a worrying time. School leavers who don’t know what they want to do next can be a real concern and it’s hard to know how to help them. If your school leaver needs a little push towards a new career, try these tips to get them on the right path.

Remind them of their strengths

You know your child better than anyone and you understand what they’re good at. It makes sense for them to pursue a career in an area where they excel, so remind them where their strengths lie. Your child might be good with their hands so perhaps a trade apprenticeship might be a good idea. Maybe they have a strong nurturing side, so health care could be a good career pathway to take. Once you’ve thought about their strengths, you could spend time exploring careers in that field to see if anything sparks their interest. A good place to start is the Job Starter website. You can browse through job roles with your child and discuss which roles they may be interested in. The website then finds accredited courses that will qualify your child for these roles and checks if there are providers who offer government funding in your state.

Remember that times have changed

School leavers today are facing a different world than when you finished school all those years ago. The economy is different and there are jobs on offer now that didn’t even exist a generation ago. Today’s young people are also likely to change careers at least once in their lives, so the decision they make now doesn’t have to be final. Try not to project your own life experience onto your child and let them make a decision for their own future.

Be patient

This is easier said than done, but some school leavers will just need a bit more time to work out what they want to do. Putting pressure on them won’t help and may lead to them entering a career that won’t make them happy. It’s important you provide them with lots of information on career choices, but forcing them to make a career decision is not helpful. Remember though, that not knowing what they want to do as a career doesn’t mean your child should spend their days doing nothing. Encourage them to find a job in the meantime, or even volunteer with a worthy organisation.

Support their choices

Once they’ve come to a decision about what they want to do for a career, it’s important that you support their choice. Their decision might not be what you were hoping for, or it might not be what you would have chosen for them. It’s fine to discuss any concerns you may have, but make sure they know that you’re right behind them and that you support their new career plans. If you're ready to start looking for a career for your child you can visit the Job Starter website.

Written by Jodie Magrath
Jodie Magrath
Jodie is a freelance writer with a background in communication and journalism. She’s spent almost 20 years working in roles such as Special Projects Writer and Publications Officer.

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