How to offer careers advice to your child

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Offering careers advice to your child can be a hard conversation to have. You may not know which information is correct, what advice to give or which tools and resources they could find the most useful.

The best way to start the conversation about your child's career choice is to find out about what they are interested in and what they enjoy doing. Approach a question such as "What subject do you enjoy the most at school?" and begin to narrow down the choices from there. Your child may have a rough idea of what job they want to go into, or they may have no clue at all. Both of these situations are perfectly fine and it is important to remember that children make decisions at different times in their life to others.

As your child approaches the age of 14, they are going to begin the process of making decisions that will impact their future. This often starts in Year 9 or 10 at School where they decide on their options of different subjects to study. This is where the initial thoughts of career choices begin to hit their minds.

The next challenge that your child may face will be when they are preparing to leave School. At this point, your child will need to make a decision on where to continue education or training. The options at this stage are either Sixth Form or College to study BTECs or A Levels or alternatively they could progress onto an Apprenticeship with an employer. In order to make a decision on which route to take, your child should have a strong idea of what career choice they want to pursue. If you would like more information about these options, please visit our Careers Hub.

To help your child make this decision, you can make use of online tools and resources such as:

All of these tools aim to provide a way of identifying your child's interests and strengths to highlight a career choice that would suit them the best. Once they have an idea of what area of work they would like to progress into, you can then begin researching which route of education and training will be the most beneficial to help them succeed.

During their post-16 education or training, your child may change their mind on their career choice. At this stage, this is normal and is a great opportunity for your child to explore other options. A common reason for young people changing their mind on their career choice is due to it not being what they expected. Their ability to identify this shows great maturity and it is a great learning curve for their personal progression. To ensure you are supporting them through this stage of their learning and development, you can begin to start the conversation about what other options they may consider. We suggest asking them what aspects of the previous career choice they enjoyed the most and the least. You can then apply these job requirements, tasks and knowledge to other job roles or sectors. A great tool to use is the Skills Health Check as it will suggest similar or recommended job roles for each user.

We recommend that throughout this process you reassure your child that everyone's journey is different and that trying new things out of their comfort zone may lead to them finding the best career choice for them.

If your child still needs extra support, you can submit an enquiry to our Careers Team who will provide 1 to 1 Careers Advice.

We also offer an Employability Programme to young people ages 16 to 18 to gain confidence, key employability skills and experience before entering the world of work. If you feel like your child needs this support, they can apply here.