Parents as Careers Coaches
“A career is a journey – not a destination”
Leaving high school and choosing a career pathway can be both an exciting and daunting prospect for students. Parents, families and whanau play a key role in supporting their teenager in exploring options for their future and in their decision-making process. This information aims to provide some useful tips to assist you as you help your son navigate his future. There is also a wealth of information on this website for you to explore with your young person.
The world of work has changed dramatically in the past few decades and the idea of a ‘job for life’ is no longer the norm. Students face endless choices as new careers emerge to meet for example, technological changes or social needs. Future generations are likely to change jobs every few years, according to research, and move across multiple industries. Many of the jobs our young people will be working in have not even been invented yet. Because of this, employees increasingly need to be adaptable with transferable skills to compete in this flexible working environment.
In the Careers Department, we encourage boys to:
- Develop self awareness – identify their interests, values, skills, strengths, talents, preferences, motivators. They can use our Career Central program and app to help them with this.
- Explore and research industries and jobs of interest– consider employment prospects, qualifications needed, pay, working environment, skills involved, lifestyle required etc before making decisions about their future.
- Decide and act – make a plan and take the steps necessary to carry it out.
Career development is seen as something that happens right through the various stages of a person’s life – it’s not just about a one-off career decision.
Teens worry about making one big career decision, but they need to be reassured that the decision they need to make is about their “first step” on their career journey. We need to encourage young people to find an occupation or study option that fits their skills, interest, values and beliefs right now. This is their “start point” and as they progress through life they will continue to evaluate and adjust their careers plans in response to external factors such as changes in their workplace, and internal factors like a shift in interest, opportunities that arise or a change in their family circumstance. Young people need to be aware things do not always turn out as planned and they need to understand the importance of Plan B or alternative routes to achieve their career goals. At the same time, many careers have evolved as a result of happenstance – being in the right place at the right time. It is likely they will work through the stages of career planning at various times in their lives.
The danger is to rush into choosing a pathway before a student has fully explored the options.
Some useful things to consider:
- Long-term, following a passion or interest is more likely to lead to greater career satisfaction and fulfilment.
- Choose a pathway that’s right for you – while many of our boys choose university after finishing school, for others training, apprenticeships or employment is a better fit for them.
- One in five NZ university students drop out in their first year! It pays to make informed, well planned decisions and receive professional career guidance.
- Keeping options broad once leaving school is wise when undecided about career pathways. E.g. a general degree can be a spring board to a wide range of jobs.
- Taking a ‘gap year’, volunteering overseas or working in an entry level job for a year after school can be a great way for students to do some growing up, discover more about themselves and the future direction they want to take.
- Once qualified in a career field, a first job can simply be a stepping stone and does not have to determine an individual’s career direction for the rest of their lives.
- If students do not embark on study straight after school – this does not mean that University is no longer an option for them. Many of our education facilities are flexible and have multiple entry points and are not age specific. Often “mature” students are more successful in their studies as they have a greater sense of purpose as to why they are there and what they are doing.
Ways our students can prepare for their future:
- Book an individual career appointment with our careers staff to get professional guidance about possible careers that would suit their unique qualities, needs and aspirations, help with planning their future and goal setting. Students can request an appointment through the website or come up to the Careers Centre – upstairs in the new gym.
- Discover more about themselves and develop skills through pursuing their interests/hobbies, volunteering in the community, working part-time and taking on leadership roles.
- Explore career ideas by researching, talking to family and family friends about their jobs, attending career expos, attending tertiary open days, working part-time in an area of interest, shadowing a worker for the day and interviewing a person in a job of interest.
Think broadly about an industry (e.g. health or technology) and then consider the range of possible careers in this field. Be open to new ideas!
School Subject Selection
- One way of choosing subjects is to work backwards from a career area that interests a student, look at skills needed, attributes sought, qualifications required and then look at the school subjects necessary to enter that career.
- Students should refer to the ‘Student Booklet’ for information about specific school subject requirements for entry to tertiary, training courses and careers in general.
- Awareness of the University of Auckland’s Table A and B subjects is needed if considering studying at the UoA.
- Get involved. Be active in your teens’ life and build experiences you can share and talk about together. Spending time with your teen may help them to be more open and willing to discuss career options with you.
- Think about the Career Development Guiding Principles and help your teen use them on their career journey
- Think about your career journey and the pathways you chose and think about what you have learned along the way – share these with your teen when the moment is right.
- Show curiosity. Explore your teens’ passion, interests, strengths, and experiences. Try not to judge, even if you do not share the same passion or interest.
- Tap into your networks. Introduce your teen to people and opportunities that are in line with their career interests.
- Connect with the school. This includes classroom teachers, their Dean, the Career Advisor. Show your teen that you support their goals and understand what they need to do academically to achieve these.
- Be informed. Take some time to become familiar with the websites and career management programme the school is using. Organise visits to training provider Open Day and Information Evenings.
- Encourage your teen to take opportunities to explore different careers through work experience, job shadowing or volunteering.
- Help them to prepare answers for questions such as “What are you going to do when you leave school?”. Most teens feel uncomfortable when asked this question especially if they do not have a firm plan. One way that has been suggested by experts to answer this is by saying, “I have several options I am considering, what do you do/How did you get to the position you have today? This then takes the emphasis of them, and from the conversation, they get to learn about another career pathway.