As a parent / carer, you have a lot of influence when it comes to education and careers decisions for your son/daughter. Unfortunately, the choices open to your child today, may be very different from the time when you were in their shoes. Everything has changed; the exam and educational systems, options available, working patterns and the type of jobs now on offer are now very different as technology evolves. It is therefore crucial to ensure that your approach and strategy for supporting them is well-informed and as up-to-date as possible.
There are numerous benefits that come with parental involvement in your child’s education and career decision. Various researches have highlighted that the more the parental involvement, the more the student feel loved and supported, which boosts their motivation, self-esteem and higher educational and career aspirations and achievements. Discussing their educational and careers shows your interest and investment in them and this could stimulate more interest and helping them have a more positive attitude. Your child sees you as a source of inspiration, positive support, encouragement and reassurance.
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
1. Establish & nurture a closer partnership with the school/career’s service. Contact them or visit their website to see what you can do to support your child and what resources are available. Ask them questions on any areas you are not sure about. Ask your son/daughter to bring relevant literature as part of the relationship building process.
2. Motivate and support them to build employability skills through hobbies and extra-curricular activities. It is essential for you to support your son/daughter in understanding the crucial relationships between the transferrable skills they pick up and the world of work. Strongly encourage your son/daughter to build a healthy mix of future-proof core skills that are linked to longer term employability.
3. Foster engagement and enthusiasm in your son/daughter by positively supporting their free choices and unbiasedly guiding them towards making crucial decisions. Career choices derived from a real passion usually produce super-excelling and highly successful professionals.
Ask questions that encourage them to freely open up on their choices, such as:
- What do you enjoy or are you passionate about?
- What do you enjoy doing during your spare time?
- How would you describe yourself? What sort of person are you?
- What are your strengths, core skills and abilities?
- What’s the best thing/achievement you have ever had in your life?
- What would you like to try?
- What could you picture yourself doing in the future?
Avoid being shocked if you get unexpected answers. Hobbies such as watching movies/TV shows can lead to very rewarding careers ranging from producers or actors to scriptwriters or editorial roles. IF they spend more time online and gaming, their potentially could pursue careers such as multimedia design, coding or digital marketing. Loving sport and outdoors may often point towards professions such as physiotherapy, sports psychology or coaching/sports management, which are generally very rewarding career options
4. Try not to be biased towards traditionally preferred choices or your own preferences. Careers evolve with each generation and some of the careers they will be doing are still in their infancy or have not been invented yet. Look out for future jobs. When you were growing, professions such as App developers and gaming coders never existed. Make use of the range of systematic approaches to explore choices, such as:
- The Morrisby Test
- National Careers Service Skills Health Check
Our Careers & Employability Handbook has loads of other online tools and websites you can use to help them explore their choices.
5. As your son/daughter build a general direction or a set of potential career options, it is fundamental for you to work closely with the school/college’s careers team to enable them to get a hands-on insight into the potential roles they could be doing through work placements, insight days and employer visits.
Key takeaways on supporting your son/daughter:
Be curious and also make them curious
Have an open mind
Encourage them to be realistic about location, salaries and ambitions
Discuss Labour market information facts and figures
Discuss jobs that are likely to grow in the future
Encourage self-understanding and self-reflection
Share your own or other people’s experiences
Offer to collaborate in the research process
Help them to consider other avenues such as self-employment, virtual working, flexible working, free-lancing or online roles
Introduce them to your personal / professional networks
Always be conscious your role as a helper not dictator
Know your limits and where you fit on in
Remember ultimately, his/her life, not yours
Let them make their own decisions.
If they make ‘wrong’ decisions, highlight your views and offer to support if things don’t work out
Find clever ways of driving out wild unrealistic dreams and naivety
Encourage them to speak to teachers and careers advisers for more detailed information and guidance.
Reassure them that you’re always available to support.
Avoid being a helicopter parent who micromanage every aspect of their life – maintain appropriate boundaries.
Do not impose on them a particular job or profession
Support them but avoid writing their CV or applying for them
Help them build their own network of connections
Keep encouraging them and foster positivity
Celebrate any successful milestones in the process
For more information, we recommend you to buy our Handbook. Please click below: