10 tips for talking to your child about their future


It’s National Careers Week and the perfect opportunity for parents, guardians and carers to discuss the topic with young people in their care.

With different options and route to choose from, from college and university through to apprenticeships and work experience, young people have big decisions to make.

Parents and carers are huge influencers in the lives of young people and can make positive contributions to these choices. But what is the best way to do this?

Whilst speaking to young people about their futures and the world of work can be a daunting task, it doesn’t need to be.

Here are ten top tips, provided by the expert team of careers advisers at Careers Wales, for talking to your child about this important topic:

  1. Support your child’s ideas. A young person is more likely to be motivated and successful if they come up with their own ideas and make decisions for themselves. Encourage their passion; if they have a real talent for a certain subject, sport or creative area, support them to pursue their dream.
  2. Keep discussions broad to start. Avoid focusing on job titles and start by talking about things like skills, interests, goals, lifestyle and values. See where these conversations lead and what jobs come up.
  3. Set up a game. Have a pack of questions and write your answers on whiteboards then see if they match. Assign questions to a number and roll dice to see which one you’ll answer. Or sit and complete the Buzz Quiz together.
  4. Promote extra-curricular opportunities. Helping and encouraging young people to engage in activities outside of school will massively increase their opportunity to develop skills, build a network and broaden their outlook.
  5. Be open minded about post-16 options – sixth form isn’t right for everyone. College courses, BTEC’s, NVQ’s can all lead to successful employment or further study at university. Apprenticeship opportunities exist in hundreds of occupations (not just for construction trades and practical jobs) as well as options to head directly into work. There are multiple routes into most occupations, it’s important to consider learning style and academic ability.
  6. Set a good example. Talk about your own experiences and attitude to education and work. Your values and opinions will influence your child’s outlook and future decisions.
  7. Promote financial independence and budgeting skills. It’s important to know how much things cost and how lifestyle is influenced by salary level. Open a bank account or a prepaid card and encourage responsible spending.
  8. If you have a network of friends and family doing different jobs, ask them to talk to your child. Encourage your child to ask them questions in a relaxed setting.
  9. Encourage part-time work, volunteering and work experience. Customer service roles are a great way to build confidence, communication and social skills. Communicating with a wide range of people at work will introduce your child to new ideas and opinions.
  10. Talk about current affairs. Make reference to news articles they might have seen and the relevance to the economy and the future jobs market. For example, ask them why they think certain occupations are striking? What difference are they making to people’s lives in those roles?

And of course, within all of these suggestions is an important action to take; listen to your child.

There are sources of support available to help parents, guardians and carers have open and honest conversations with the young people they care for about their futures.


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