As a parent, it's likely been a long time since you were up to date with the labour market for young people. For instance, did you know that
- There are currently around 23 applications per job?
- One in four graduates is unemployed, with UK youth unemployment standing at over one million?
- There are 63% more apprenticeships than in 2010?
Helping your child choose a career in a climate that is so different to the one you grew up and began work in may seem challenging – but here are some tips to help you get started.
How to help your child choose a career?
Tip 1: Think ahead.
You'll want your child to study something they love, but their favourite subject right now might not be the one to help them into their dream profession. Encourage your child to visualise where they would like to be in five or 10 years' time – then look, together, at what they would need to do to get there.
Tip 2: Get researching.
Most schools and colleges still put a lot of emphasis on going to University – remember that there are loads of alternative qualifications and routes into work. A vocational course or apprenticeship may be more suitable for your child and what they want to do than going down the academic route. Ensure they're aware of these other opportunities, and start with direct.gov.uk as well as notgoingtouni.co.uk to find out more about them.
Tip 3: Use your own contacts.
Whether you know it or not, you’ve got your own careers network – it’s made up of all the people you’ve worked with, as well as friends and relations. If there's someone you know working in the industry your child wants to get into, why not introduce them so your child can get some first-hand knowledge?
Tip 4: Remember what it was like for you when you were starting out.
Your child may be overwhelmed by choice (and jargon) and not know which way to turn; or they may be feeling frustrated if their applications are being rejected, or nervous about money. Perhaps the most important thing you can do for your child is just to let them know that you are there for them. Simply having someone in your corner can be a massive boost.
The key to all of the above, of course, is discussion. Your role is to support, not to lead – talk with your child about where their interests and passions lie, and then work in tandem to investigate how to turn those ideas into realities.