Helping your child choose a career: hints and tips for parents
By: Ross Maloney, Chief Executive of The Skills Show 

Ross Maloney, Chief Executive of The Skills Show advises parents on what to do to assist their children in selecting the right career.

For parents, helping their child choose a career can be a complicated and confusing process. The worlds of education and employment are changing so fast, many parents can be overwhelmed by the opportunities available to their children and some prefer to stick to “what they know”. 
Independent research from the Association of Colleges* published in 2012 gave a clear indication of the problems facing parents and teachers when trying to assist in this area: 82 per cent of teachers believe they lack sufficient knowledge to advise pupils effectively on careers. One fifth of the parents questioned feel out of their depth advising their children about careers and almost a third are only comfortable discussing jobs they are already familiar with. So what can parents do to assist their children in selecting the right career? Ross Maloney, Chief Executive of the UK’s biggest skills and careers event, has the following advice:

• What does your child actually want to do? Get them to sit down and really think about it – their own ideas on a future career path may differ from your own, but it is important to remember that a happy worker will always be more satisfied than one who is pigeonholed into a career they do not want.
• We all know that work can be rewarding, fulfilling and sometimes even fun – but it is work! Children need to realize that, without it, the basics of life may be harder to come by (a home, a car, pocket money!)
• Encourage your child to research the careers of people in the public eye that they admire, to see if they have taken an unexpected route to success. Theo Paphitis, for example, started his career as an apprentice and worked his way to the top.
• Encourage your child to talk to you about your career and that path you have taken. They could also talk with the rest of the family, friends and neighbors, and with their teachers – knowledge is power!
• Investigate whether it is possible to arrange some work experience for your child with a colleague or friend in an area that interests them – having a go will give them a real taste.
• What is your child really passionate about? They are far more likely to succeed in these subjects, and the jobs and careers associated with them, than those that they feel they “must” study or which you insist on.