The best way to help children choose a career | Work & careers

Your article on parents feeling overwhelmed captures the difficulties as young people explore diverse careers (‘How is that a real job?’ Parents struggle to keep up with children’s career options, 19 May). A century ago, the most common work included domestic service, mining and textiles. Roles such as UX designer would have been unimaginable, and we won’t recognise many of the roles in 100 years’ time.

Parents are a huge influence on young people’s choices, but can be limited by their knowledge and networks – and not just in relation to these new careers. When my son wanted to pursue an apprenticeship in construction, I didn’t have any experience in the sector to share. Similarly, parents with no experience of university can find it difficult to offer advice and support if their child is hoping to follow an academic route.

That’s why careers advisers in schools and colleges are important. Qualified advisers stay up to date with career trends, so are ideally placed to offer support. And the best careers programmes in schools and colleges don’t just focus on students, they also engage parents to widen their perspectives of potential careers and increase their confidence in the choices that their child is making.

Your article reinforces our critical role as parents, but we don’t have to do it alone. Ask to see the careers adviser at your child’s school or college to avoid the “job fog”.
David Morgan
Chief executive, Career Development Institute

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