Planning a Career With Your Child

Career development of young people

As a parent you have a key role to play in supporting your child with their career journey. You are generally the first point of call for career development information, advice and guidance for your child. Your attitude can have a powerful impact on your child’s career development and how they manage their careers lifelong. Having a positive attitude, watching for activities your child is drawn to and seeing their careers as journeys are some of the ways in which you can support your child to prepare for their future and be adaptable to change.

Many parents seek to improve their knowledge of career development, in particular the sources of careers information and advice, in order to assist their children. To help you provide the best possible information, advice and guidance, you will need to understand what “career” means in the 21st century. A career is no longer one job for life. A career includes a lifetime of experiences including periods of education, training, paid employment, unpaid employment, unemployment, volunteer work and life roles. Young people need the skills, knowledge and capabilities to navigate through these various experiences, and use resilience to move forward when their preferred option does not follow a direct pathway.

In 1995, Canadian career development leaders Pat Butter, Donna Davidson, Barrie Day, Aryeh Gitterman, Helen Hackett, Tracy Lamb, John McCormick, Dave Redekopp and Michele Tocher created the High Five Principles of career development. These five key principles reflect the contemporary understanding of career. You can begin your careers conversation with your young person by drawing on these High Five Principles:

  1. Know yourself, believe in yourself and follow your heart
  2. Change is constant
  3. Learning is ongoing
  4. Focus on the journey
  5. Access your allies

For more information about the constantly changing world of work and career choices, see: What is a Career?

Career conversations

It is helpful for young people to talk through the many options for further education, training and employment that are available to them following completion of school. They can have these conversations with you, a careers practitioner, teachers and other trusted adults.

You can start a conversation when your child asks questions about life after school. Most young people respond well to casual conversations about careers. Talk about the world of work as you have experienced it. Share some of your work and life experiences and those of other family members and friends. Encourage them to reflect on their experiences with questions like:

  • What is it about _____ that interests you?
  • What did you learn about yourself from that experience?
  • How could you get experience in that field of work?
  • I wonder what qualifications might be required for that field of work.
  • Would you like to go to TAFE or university? Have you thought about doing an apprenticeship?
  • What are you and your friends thinking of doing after school?
  • Who could you talk with to get more information or careers advice about that field of work?

The most important thing is to be positive about the ideas and choices made by your child and their chances of finding a satisfying career path. This needs to include a consideration of their aptitudes (what they are good at), interests (what they like or enjoy doing), values (what is important to them), aspirations (what they want to achieve) and skills (what they can do).

More information

For more information about the career options available for your child, you can talk to people at:

  • Your child’s school, including:
    • Careers practitioner
    • Year level coordinator
    • Year 11 or 12 coordinator
    • VCE, VCAL or VET coordinator
  • Careers Centres at Vocational Education and Training providers and Higher Education providers
  • Australian Apprenticeship Centre

For additional information for parents, see:

For more general career development information, see:

For detailed information on different occupations, see:

For information about tertiary education, see:

For information about the National Partnership on Youth Attainment and Transitions, see: Youth Attainment and Transitions National Partnership