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 provide help and encouragement.

Here are my top ten tips:

    1. Talk to your daughter/son about careers they are interested in. Find out what they know already and encourage them to visit the school careers library to find out more.  Encourage your child to talk to you about your own career and the decisions you had to face. They could also talk with the rest of the family, friends and neighbours, and with their teachers.

    1. Find out about what choices your son/ daughter has to make in Year 9. They will usually be asked to choose from a selection of GCSE 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.
    2. Make an appointment to speak to a member of the careers department at the next parents evening. Check what advice and information (e.g. careers software programs) is provided and whether the school puts on special events, talks etc that focus on career progression. Ask whether your child will be offered a guidance interview with a qualified careers adviser.  If the answer is negative, consider making a complaint to the head teacher or governing body.
    3. Also, ask your school if they have access to any programs that you and your son/ daughter can use at home over the Internet. For example, CASCAiD offers access at home for pupils of a licensed school so you have the opportunity to get involved with your son/ daughter’s careers planning.
Programs used in schools:  Course Discover ~  eCLIPS  ~  Fast Tomato  ~  Higher Ideas  ~  JED (Job Explorer Database )  ~ Kudos/Careerscape (Cascaid ) ~   Prefinio  ~  U-Explore
  1. Ask if they have completed a computer based career choice questionnaire. If so, ask to see the results and talk them through together.
  2. Encourage your son/ daughter to find out about what courses, jobs and training opportunities are available locally. Your local authority may provide information on local options on their website. The big decision is whether to stay in full-time education or to get an apprenticeship or other employment with training on the job.
  3. Make the most of open day opportunities. Your child may be considering post 16 study at a different institution to their current school or perhaps applying to a local training company to do an apprenticeship or a pre-apprenticeship course – called a Traineeship.
  4. Investigate whether it is possible to arrange some work experience for your child with a colleague or friend in an area that interests them –  having a go will give them real insights into working life.
  5. Get involved with plans for post-18 study. If your son/daughter is intending to enter higher education they need to plan ahead carefully. They need to think about:
    • what subject/s they want to study
    • which institutions offer relevant courses
    • whether the program of study suits their needs
    • will their GCSE grades and expected results from A levels (or equivalent) meet the course’s entry requirements
    • whether there is a work placement as part of the course
    • whether they want to study close to home or move further afield; and
    • whether the campus offers other facilities which are important to them e.g. sports facilities.
  6. Finally,  watch out for local or regional careers conventions or fairs and make sure they attend during Year 10 or 11.  This is often arranged as a special school outing although it is perfectly fine to go along as an individual and parents are normally welcome to visit too.