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Tips to help at home

While children and young people should be learning about careers and the world of work at school, parents play an important role in supporting their learning. It's important to help young people understand the different careers available to them, as well as the key employability skills that will enable them to be a valuable employee in whatever profession they choose.

Here are some suggestions of things you can do to help your child/children not only to understand the wealth of roles out there in the market place but to develop the skills that will help them become more 'employable':

Careers

  • Talk with your child about the different jobs you've had throughout your life. Start with your very first job and discuss what you enjoyed about it and what you learnt while doing it. Continue this discussion throughout your life at work.
  • If you have extended family and friends involve them in the discussions about work. Comparing experiences and routes into different careers helps to show all the different ways a career can be formed.
  • Find out what subjects your child enjoys most at school and what their dream job is. Go online and look up that role (use the Nationwide Education website, or try UK based job sites, as these should give you a job description including what that job entails) to see what information you can find out about that role including, the qualifications needed to do it and the general duties they will be doing. Does this match what your child thinks the job entails and will they have the right qualifications?
  • Collect some brochures from local colleges and from universities (most will have these on their website and will normally post hard copies directly to you) and look at the different courses available including, the entry requirements needed for each.
  • If your child/children is more interested in going straight into work are there 'on-the-job' training schemes or apprenticeships available. There is lots of information out there for you to look at together.
  • Do you know anyone doing your child's dream job now, or working in the same area? See if you can arrange for them to talk to this person or to 'shadow' them at work and get a taste of what that job is really like.

Employability skills

  • With your child identify their three main strengths and weaknesses and discuss how these might affect the type of work that they want to do. E.g. if a weakness is that they like to have their weekends free so that they can sleep in then shift work might not be the best option for them!
  • Conduct a mock interview with you 'role playing' the interviewer with your child as the candidate. You can use the Interview Tips fact sheet to help you with common types of questions.
  • Find out what career your child wants and get them to identify what they think the main skills are for that job. Go online and look up some job descriptions for that role, or ones similar to it, and compare the list you have made with the skills named in the job description.
  • Talk about your current or previous job role and the skills you needed to do it well. Discuss how these developed over time and with experience.
  • Help your child produce their curriculum vitae highlighting their main employability skills and experience to date. You can use the Curriculum Vitae Writing fact sheet to help you with this. Focus on their school and personal achievements and if they have had any holiday or weekend work experience include this.
  • Work experience is a great way to boost their employability skills by giving them a taste of the working environment. Talk to your child about the type of work they would like to do over their summer holidays or on weekends once they are old enough to. Discuss how they might contact local businesses to ask for a job and help to prepare them for their interview. If they haven't had any work experience yet this will be an excellent time to focus on their other skills, those that make them employable such as punctuality and good communication.