How to make sure your child gets good careers advice

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A mother and son at the Skills Show, Birmingham 2015

When it comes to making sure your child receives good careers advice, there are three main things you can do:

  • Provide good support at home
  • Understand what job opportunities are available locally
  • Know what careers advice and guidance is on offer at school and make sure your child is making the most of it

In this guide, we’ll look at each of these areas in a bit more detail.

'3 ways to make sure your child is getting good careers advice'

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1. Providing good support at home

Father and daughter

As a parent or carer, you can help your child match their skills

and interests to work out what they want to do in their careers

Think back to when you were a school student and you’ll remember that a common question adults would ask you was “what do you want to be when you grow up?”

While some students have a vague idea of how they might answer this question, few sit down to carry out research and logically think through what career path might fit in with their skills and interests.

Many are unaware too of the many options open to them when they leave school or college. This goes far beyond university nowadays, with higher and degree apprenticeships offering an in-work route into high-skilled jobs such as solicitor, software engineer, civil engineer and more.


2. Understanding local job opportunities

Find A Job

Run a geographic search on websites like the government's

Find A Job tool

Although your child may be willing to work elsewhere in the country or even the world, it is important to understand the local job market for a number of reasons. It will help them:

  • Find work experience.
  • Understand whether there are longer-term opportunities near to home.
  • Specialise in a field suitable for them, if they want to work near home.

Ways you can research the local job market:

Local jobs boards: There will be job board websites for your local area, including for particular industries, such as local government or IT.

National job boards: Similarly, national job boards such as Indeed or Monster will allow you to apply geographic filters so you can view only jobs in your area.

Government’s Find A Job site: You can filter jobs by category but also region, county and town/city.

You should also search for opportunities specifically geared towards young people:

Apprenticeships: Check on the government’s Find An Apprenticeship site to look for apprenticeships.

Success at School: Check Success at School’s Jobs and Courses page regularly.

Search online for apprenticeship opportunities and school/college leaver placements nearby. Often these are offered by large employers on an annual basis by application via an online form. They are often very popular, so if you find an employer offering such a scheme, sign yourself and your child up for alerts so you get a notification when applications open.

We would recommend searching for national employers offering apprenticeships and school leaver programmes as well. We often advertise these on our Jobs and Courses page.

Finally, search for local employers offering work experience placements. You can search online for advertised schemes or make a list of organisations to get your child to proactively make contact with if they seem to fit in with their skills and interests.


3. Understand what careers advice is offered in schools

Careers advisor

You should be able to find details of the Careers Leader on the

school website

Schools are now advised to use the 8 Gatsby benchmarks in order to meet their legal requirement for careers advice.

These are:

  1. A stable careers programme
  2. Learning from career and labour market information
  3. Addressing the needs of each pupil
  4. Linking curriculum learning to careers
  5. Encounters with employers and employees
  6. Experiences of workplaces
  7. Encounters with further and higher education
  8. Personal guidance

What does this mean? By the time they complete Year 11, students should have had at least one meeting with a qualified careers advisor and another by the time they finish Year 13. They should have the opportunity to do at least one work experience placement before they finish Year 11 and another by the time they complete Year 13. They should also get a “meaningful encounter” with employers or employees at least once per year from Year 7 right up to Year 13.

Every school must have a Careers Leader who is also a qualified careers advisor and whose responsibility it is to ensure the school meets the 8 benchmarks mentioned above.

Understanding what your child’s school has to offer: Schools are legally obliged to provide information about their careers programme on their website as well as contact details for their Careers Leader. Your first port of call should therefore be the website. If you have any queries or concerns, please contact the Careers Leader.


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Images: Lead image, father and daughterpink careers advisor by Find a Future via Flickr


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