Choosing a future career is not that straightforward and parents are not always equipped to offer the best advice. Last year I attended a Skills Cymru Cardiff event with my 16 year old daughter who had very little idea about what she wanted to do when she left school. This is how we got on.
Choosing a career
How did you choose your career? Did you have a clear idea of what you wanted to do from a young age or, like me, have you reached mid-life and are still not entirely sure what you want to be when you grow up? Have you moved from job to job or have you relentlessly pursued a clear career path? Does it matter?
Over the last six or seven years I have been struck by how organised teens are expected to be when it comes to career choices. Yet, it is not always that easy. If I could offer one piece of advice it would be – calm down. The days of a career for life seem to be in the past. As a parent we can try to lift the pressure and encourage our teens to enjoy the journey rather than focusing on the destination. My second piece of advice would be – get some help.
Why attend an event
There are Skills Scotland, Skills England and Skills London events throughout 2018 and you can find the details here. We found the Skills Cymru Cardiff event useful and came away with arms full of information. If you get the chance to attend a similar event with your teens, here are a few reasons why you should take it.
- It helps to have it all under one roof. SkillsCymru are Wales’ largest careers, jobs, skills and apprenticeship events. Having it all in one place can be a little overwhelming at first but it certainly focuses the mind and drives it home to your teen that there is a huge selection of paths to choose from. It is especially useful for making key decisions at the end of Years 11 and Years 13.
- The process of elimination is useful. If nothing else it is useful as a way of working out what they definitely DON’T want to do. When we got there, my daughter thought that she liked the idea of an apprenticeship. Having found out a bit more about them on the night and talking to the experts she had made the decision that university was the path for her. This was an important step and enabled her to move on with the next decision.
- It’s useful for parents. The SkillsCymru event is aimed at pupils and students in Years 10,11,12 and 13 and, importantly, their parents. We all operate in fairly limited fields (often related to our own profession) and something like this is an eye opener for us as well. I think the event is especially useful for helping them decide if post-16 full time study is for them or if they’d rather enter the world of work.
- It focuses the mind and triggers conversations. Make the most of having somewhere to talk about their future. It’s just you and them and a lot of experts – no excuses. The hands on nature is attractive and ensures that boredom is never an issue.
- It costs nothing. These events are free for the young people and their parents/guardians to attend. This makes them open to all. If’s just the cost of travelling that will need to be covered.
The Skills Cymru Cardiff Event
We found it hugely useful and all the exhibitors were both friendly and very enthusiastic about their sector. I liked the combination of academic options alongside the world of work.
This video gives you a glimpse of what goes on at the event. This is from the Welsh event and so it is bilingual with subtitles.
I’d love to know how you and your young people chose your career. Please do leave me a comment.