Choosing the right career can be tough, especially for an 18-year-old who has just completed high school and is suddenly faced with a mountain of new life decisions and career options.
While the decision ultimately lies with the person, parents play an important role in guiding teens to make good career choices. Guardians should take an active role in this process when the time comes to choose the right qualifications and institutions.
Shevon Lurie the Managing Director at Vega (an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (IIE)) shared advice for parents who want to support their teenagers in choosing the right career, whether they are about to graduate from high school or still have a long way to go.
Take an interest in their interests
Many parents tend to prioritise certain career paths over others they might deem less lucrative. This gives young people the impression that they can’t earn a living from following their passions and doing what interests them.
Instead, Lurie suggests, parents and guardians make the effort to ask questions about your teen’s unique interests. While parents should never be dismissive of the things their children are passionate about, it’s still important to pay attention to where your teen’s natural talents and strengths lie, to help them develop a realistic idea of the future. Lurie also advises parents to take interest in their teen’s schoolwork and grades, as this is often a very good indication of where their capabilities lie.
“Young people may not always be drawn to careers that their parents would prefer, but my advice to parents is to remember that success comes with finding one’s purpose. Once a young person feels fulfilled in the field they’ve chosen to study and pursue, they’re far more likely to succeed in life,” said Lurie.
Understand the modern career landscape
The world of work has changed dramatically in the last decade alone and continues to evolve with each passing year, as technology progresses, and workplaces adapt to meet new demands.
Graduates are expected to bring relevant skills and at least a basic understanding of the field of work they are pursuing, which means that parents can no longer rely on a traditional understanding of the job market in guiding their teens’ career choices.
“The current career landscape is in flux, and while no one expects parents to study up and become experts on every modern profession overnight, they do need to have a top-level understanding of the types of skills that employers want to see in prospective employees,” said Lurie.
“Look at the latest articles online and attend open days with your teen to help get a better idea of what’s out there,” she added.
Help them do their homework
Once your teen has an idea of a few careers they see themselves pursuing, they will now need to research their chosen fields to gain a deeper understanding of each of them and determine what they would like to pursue.
“Encourage your teen to do more research into the careers they find interesting, by approaching companies for job shadowing and possible internships, or simply by chatting to industry professionals before choosing what to study,” said Lurie.
“To put it into perspective, many employers have told us that they prefer students from Vega simply because of the practical experience the students gain from unique aspects of the curriculum, like the Vega Brand Challenge and the industry immersion programme, showing the importance of going out and getting your feet wet as a young person.
“The Vega Brand Challenge is a real-life project that involves student teams comprising of Strategic Brand Planners, Digital Marketers, Visual Communicators, Multimedia Designers and Copywriters in the development and execution of original and meaningful solutions to real-life company brand challenges,” said Lurie.
Support them in making their own choices
Unlike previous generations that often followed in their parents’ footsteps, young people today are more likely to follow their passions and choose their own career paths than be swayed by the preferences of others.
While it can be hard for parents to let go of the reins and allow their teens to make their own choices, encouraging them down a career path that’s not suited to them will likely have a negative effect on them and their future.
“It’s so important to support your teen’s life decisions, whether parents agree or not with their child’s career choices, your child is a unique individual and a parent’s role should be to help their children realise their own strengths and passions. Expose your child to the all the options that are available and guide them to make their own decisions so that they follow their own desired career path,” said Lurie.
Parents play a vital role in supporting teens to find their feet in a world that’s especially challenging to navigate for young people. Visit the Vega Open Day on 26 October to find out more about the modern career landscape and to chat to educators and industry professionals who can offer more insight into the many options available to teens today.
For more information on the wide range of IIE qualifications available to study at Vega, and the #100Reasons to choose Vega, visit www.vegaschool.com.