National Careers Week – involving parents in career planning

It’s the final day of National Careers Week. Today, we look at how parents and carers can help to support young people’s career decisions.

Career decisions – top tips for parents and carers

At CASCAiD, we are regularly contacted by parents and carers about how they can support their child with planning their career.

Young people today are facing greater challenges when making choices about what to do in the future. With increased competition for education, training and employment, young people are under pressure to make the right choices. To help them make the right decisions, every young person should receive information, advice and guidance about their future. While for many young people a career may seem a long way off, decisions they make about education and training now may affect their options later on.

In schools, careers education, information, advice and guidance will often begin with an introduction to the world of work in Years 7 and 8, moving on to look at how subject choices in Year 9 affect career choice.

By Year 10, students should explore their ideas further in readiness for Year 11, when they will choose what they want to do post-16. It is vital to develop an understanding of post-18 options while in Year 12, in readiness for higher education applications, which are completed early in Year 13. Students from Year 10 onwards may also be given the opportunity to take part in work experience.

Most schools have an appointed careers co-ordinator/teacher, who is responsible for ensuring that students receive careers education, advice and guidance. There should also be an opportunity for students to discuss their plans with a qualified adviser.

As part of the latest changes to careers delivery in schools, the government has placed a legal duty on them to ensure that students from Years 9 to 11 have access to impartial guidance, provided by a source independent to the school.  Schools should also have a careers library which students can use for further research.

As they make choices and plans for the future, young people need support from the people who know them best: their families. There are many ways that parents can offer support with choices. Here are a few ideas for parents:

  • Find out about the choices your son/daughter has to make in Year 9. They will usually be asked to choose from a selection of subjects which they want to study in Year 10 and 11. Most students will have compulsory subjects which they have to study along with a selection of options.
  • Talk to your son/daughter about careers they are interested in. Find out what they know already and encourage them to visit the careers library to find out more.
  • Make an appointment to speak to a member of the careers department at the next parents’ evening. They will be able to answer any questions you have about career plans.
  • Encourage your son/daughter to explore all of the learning options available to them at 14 and 16. There are vocational alternatives to traditional subjects which offer accepted progression routes for many careers and university/college courses.
  • Ask your school/college if they have access to any resources that you and your son/daughter can use at home over the internet.
  • If your son/daughter has used a careers information and guidance resource at school, such as Launchpad, Kudos or Careerscape, ask them about their results. Even if the careers that are suggested do not appeal, it is still useful to discuss why they have been suggested. You can find out more about these resources on the CASCAiD website.
  • Make the most of open day opportunities. Your son/daughter may be considering post 16-study at a different institution to their current school/college and it is important to explore all of the options.
  • Get involved with plans for post-18 study. If your son/daughter is planning to go to university or college, they need to plan carefully. They should think about what subject/s they want to study; which institutions offer relevant courses; whether the program of study suits them; if there is a work placement as part of the course; if their expected results from A levels or equivalent meet the entry requirements; whether they want to study close to home or move further afield; and whether the campus offers other facilities which are important to them, eg, sports facilities.

Whatever the situation, it is important to allow your son/daughter to reach their own decisions about their future. Providing support and encouragement is immensely important and the more you know about what information, advice and guidance is available and where it can be accessed, the better.

Don’t be afraid to contact your school/college if you have any questions. However, it is important to include your son/daughter as, ultimately, it is their future.

With the right information, advice and guidance, young people can make informed decisions about their future and be prepared to make the most of every opportunity.

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