Support Careers Choices

There are plenty of ways you can support your child to make informed decisions about their future careers.

  • Support your child to discover their passion
  • Motivate your child to pursue their passions
  • Help to identify information about their chosen career path
  • Empower your child to gain the confidence to pursue their chosen path

If you’re unsure on any questions your child may have, ask for help. Our advisers are here to help and support both you and your child.

Local Information
Parents

Help for Parents

Help with Choice

What You Need to Know
  • You are one of the biggest influences on decisions your child will make about their future. You know them better than anyone so you can help in ways that no one else can.
  • To be ready for the world of work young people need to carry on learning for longer. This doesn’t have to mean staying on at school, but from Year 11 they will need to choose whether to carry on in full time education, start an Apprenticeship or get a job with training.
  • There are lots of exciting options available, but choice can be confusing. The earlier you help your child to find out about what they could do, the better prepared they will be to make the right decision for them.
  • There is lots of help available including websites that tell you about different jobs and how to get into them as well as careers events at school and local colleges. Teachers and careers advisers can also help with applications and keep their plans on track.
  • You can help by taking an interest, getting involved and making sure your child is making use of all those sources of help.
Things to Think About
  • Education and careers may have changed a lot since you were at school, so try to find things out alongside your child – discovering options and ideas together.
  • It’s difficult to hold back if you feel you know what your child should do but helping them to make their own decision – with your support – is likely to mean they will enjoy it and do better at what they choose.
  • The pressures of being a teenager and doing well at school can make decisions about the future another thing to worry about. By staying positive and calm you can help make it exciting rather than stressful.
  • Keep a balance between being realistic and encouraging. Dreams and ambitions can be kept alive by exploring all the options and having back up plans.
  • Information about courses and careers can be complicated. If you’re not sure about something you can contact an adviser for help.
To Do
  • Look out for the help available – you can look at the school website or you can ask your school what’s coming up, and when. Parents’ evenings, options evenings and open days at schools and colleges are all a good time to get help. CareersInc advisers will normally be there to talk things through, answer questions and make suggestions.
  • Your child may have a careers interview at school. You are very welcome to attend, just contact the school to arrange. If you are not able to attend you can find out what was discussed and help your child with their action plan. It’s worth making a note of dates of open days and deadlines for applications.
  • If you want to help your child get started, try i-could or the Skills Explorer on Careersbox. Both websites have quick quizzes to help with career ideas and useful links to other sources of information.
  • If you want to find out about a career and how to get there look at Job Profiles on the National Careers Service website.
  • Help your child to think about what they’re good at and enjoy, the sort of personality they have, how they learn best and whether they need extra support.
  • If you have family, friends or colleagues who have inside knowledge of a career or a course they may be a great source of information and advice.
What You Need to Know
  • Your child will have to make decisions about options and pathways throughout their time at school and after school.
  • You can help them to decide which option is right for them but first you need to understand them yourself.
  • Years 7 to 10 – your child will have subject choices to make which will determine what qualifications they will leave school with.
  • Year 11 – your child will need to decide whether to stay in full-time education at a college or sixth form, do an Apprenticeship or Traineeship, or get a job with training.
  • At 17 and 18 years old – your child may need to decide whether to progress in education – either at college or university, do an Apprenticeship or get a job.
Things to Think About
  • Make sure you have all the information about your child’s options including how they can progress, as some options may limit what they can go on to do afterwards.
  • Encourage your child to choose the option that suits their learning style – look at how each option is taught and assessed and how your child will learn. For example, Apprenticeships are competence-based and involve them carrying out tasks in a real work environment.
  • Pathways can be complicated, if your child is really unsure, encourage them to speak to an adviser.
  • Encourage your son or daughter to apply for as many options as they can, that way they will have longer to find out more and make up their mind.
To Do
  • Find out all your available options in your child’s school or area:
  • If it’s school options – read through the options booklet carefully.
  • For after Year 11 – complete the options checklist together and encourage them to get all local sixth form and college prospectuses and register for the Apprenticeships website.
  • If they’re 17 or 18 – encourage them to register for the Apprenticeships website, find out about jobs available and look on the UCAS website for higher education courses.
  • Attend options events and open days to help you and your son or daughter find out about the options and where they’re delivered.
  • Remind them to make applications in good time, usually before the end of January, so that they can confirm places and concentrate on final exams and coursework.
  • Find out who to speak to in your school if they’re unsure what to do.

What You Need to Know

  • Your child will need to apply for different opportunities – work experience, jobs, Apprenticeships and courses. You can help by taking time to understand what they need to do, by supporting them through each stage and making sure they get the help they need.
  • You might not feel confident but remember you have a lot more experience than they do, so you can help. The ways you apply for things might have changed, but how to present yourself well hasn’t.
  • Your son or daughter may not have had the chance to build lots of skills and qualifications yet, so think about things they’ve done at school, through hobbies and in the family and put these on their application.
  • There are lots of useful websites – visit the local info page – that tell you about different types of application and give tips for how to go about it.
  • Your child can apply for more than one course, job or Apprenticeship at a time, so encourage them to keep options open.
Things to Think About
  • Don’t do it for them! Your child will need to live up to what they’ve said and will be found out if they don’t use their own words.
  • Stay positive. We all have experience of not getting something we apply for, so help your child to understand that they may not be successful every time. Encourage them to keep trying and to have back up plans if their first choices don’t work out.
  • You might never have had a phone interview, or done an aptitude test or even had to use a CV, so if you’re unsure find out more or get help from an adviser.
  • When your child is applying for learning after Year 11, include anything they may need additional need help with, as well as what they are good at and enjoy. It won’t go against them, and means they’ll get the support they need. Talk to an adviser or check with the provider what additional support is available.
  • Leave plenty of time. Suggest doing a draft application first, or planning how to get to an interview before the day. More preparation means more confidence!
  • Keep an eye on important dates, usually before the end of January, to make sure you don’t miss deadlines.
To Do
  • Find out what needs to be done, how and when. Go through instructions and guidance with your child so you’re both clear.
  • Point out skills and qualities that your son or daughter might not think of – volunteering for things at school, putting in extra effort to get better at something, doing things for other people and organising themselves.
  • Get family, friends or colleagues to help. They might have more experience of interviews, or be better at checking spelling and grammar, so use them!
  • Encourage your child to get feedback if they’re unsuccessful. They probably won’t want to, but it will help them to do a better application next time. Feedback can also point to the experience, skills or qualifications they need to work on to get where they want.
What You Need to Know
  • There are many people and places that can help you and your child make decisions about their future.
  • As options and pathways can be so complicated, it’s important you look at the right information and get the right advice.
  • Your child’s tutor or subject teachers are available to discuss subject choices and support their applications for further study.
  • There are also other staff in school that can help such as a learning manager, mentor, support worker or head of year.
  • CareersInc advisers are working in your child’s school and are there to give external, independent, impartial advice based on the needs of your son or daughter.
  • Careers advisers from the National Careers Service are available over the phone to give information and advice about different careers and pathways.
Things to Think About
  • Make sure the information and advice you and your child are given is from an external, independent and impartial person who is not tied to one school, college or training provider.
To Do
  • Find out who to speak to in your child’s school and what help they will get throughout their time at school.
  • Visit the National Careers Service website to find out how to speak to an adviser.
  • Attend open evenings and options events at your child’s school and with local schools, sixth forms, colleges and training providers.
What You Need to Know
  • You can get financial help to support learning after Year 11, but what’s offered and how it’s provided depends on the route your son or daughter chooses.
  • If your child stays in full-time education after Year 11, you will still get child benefit, up to the age of 19. Full-time courses are run by school sixth forms, colleges and work based learning providers.
  • If your son or daughter starts an Apprenticeship and are employed, you won’t get child benefit, but they will get a wage of at least £2.68 per hour.
  • You can get child tax credit if your child is over 16 and still in full-time education, depending on your household income.
  • Sixth forms, colleges and work based learning providers all have 16-19 Bursary Funds you could apply for depending on individual circumstances. They decide how much you get and when they are paid.
  • Financial support for higher education depends on your household income and comes in two forms – a loan and a grant.
Things to Think About
  • To continue getting child benefit, you’ll need to tell the child benefit office that your child is staying in full-time learning. You’ll get a letter to remind you what you need to do just before the end of Year 11.
  • Make sure you know about all the things you’re entitled to – schools and colleges will explain what’s available. Make sure you attend the relevant open days/evenings.
  • You will apply for some of the financial help available, but sometimes your son or daughter has to apply. This is the case for higher education finance, although they will need your help and support.
  • The prospect that your child might accrue student debt can be quite daunting but higher education is affordable through the student loan system and they don’t start to pay back until they start work. Find out what Martin Lewis the money saving expert has to say about the myths of student loans.
To Do
  • For information about the 16-19 Bursary Fund when you find out about the schools, colleges or work based learning providers your child might go to, and apply as soon as they’re offered a place.
  • Make sure you’ve told the child benefit office if your son or daughter is staying in full-time learning after Year 11.
  • If your child is applying for higher education, don’t wait for a place to be confirmed, tell them to apply for financial support from January before they start in September.

Parent Advice Videos

Careers advice for Parents – Your options after school
Careers advice for Parents – Sixth Form vs College
Careers advice for Parents – Apprenticeships
Careers advice for Parents – Key options in year 11
Careers advice for Parents – Key options in year 11 part 2
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