How to help your child plan for their career - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Parent Lounge Update

How to help your child plan for their career

17 Jun 2020

Choosing a career is a big decision for your child, what to ‘do’, what career to ‘have’, what to study. Here are a few tips from my family to yours for how you can help your child make their choice.

Encourage them to think about a future career.

Now the future might seem a long way away, and perhaps particularly at the moment, when life has thrown us all a COVID curveball, but it really is never too early to begin imagining all the possibilities for a future career.

I encouraged my children to think about things they enjoyed, hobbies they liked, what they were good at, and how this might turn into a career choice. One of my children was very science oriented, and had a little microscope set, they loved looking down that microscope, and later, they loved studying science. That was the career path they chose.

Help them do their research.

You can help your child research possible careers by accessing career resources online, including character assessments and job guides, and you can take your children to career nights and job expos. As a family, we went to lots of university open days, so many I think that I have a frequent flyer card somewhere, and they were fabulous for giving us more information. Our numbers three and four children came with us to lots of these events, so they got multiple bites at the career ideas cherry. This year, the USC Open Day will be online (owing to the COVID curveball) so you will have plenty of opportunity to get all the information you need… so get those questions ready.

Can they get work experience?

See if your child can get work experience in their chosen career. One of my children scored a gap year job at a law firm and after two weeks, decided that was the career for them.

Many universities send their students on work placement as part of their study. I particularly liked how USC sent my children on work placement during the first year of study and gave them a chance to experience their career choices early in their degree.

Finally,  and I think this is actually the most important thing to remember… remind your child that their choice isn’t set in concrete… and neither is their study path.

Your child’s choice of career might change, and that is fine.

Their choice of study might change, and that is fine too.

I know this from experience.

One of my own children had chosen to study one degree, then got a job in their gap year and did a complete change of career goal. It wasn’t a drama, they just started in the degree they had enrolled in and then changed their enrolment. And in their case, they received credit for the subjects they had studied.

I have encouraged my children to choose a career they will enjoy and tried to help them find their chosen path. And I remind them that though this is a big decision, what to ‘do’, what career to ‘have’, the choices they make about their career and their study are not chiselled in stone.

About Dr Janet Lee

Dr Janet Lee received her Doctorate of Creative Arts from USC. She is also mum to four children who have all completed (or are completing) their undergraduate degrees at USC. Janet lives on the Sunshine Coast with two dogs, some very spoilt chickens and her wonderful, noisy family. Janet is a regular contributor to USC's Parent Lounge.

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