Work Skills Needed In The Future

Students clearly need to be equipped with a bevy of skills in order to cope with the state of flux they now face in today’s world of work. Career guidance in its past format, when one meeting with a student counsellor was the norm, will no longer suffice. Gathering information about the myriad of jobs now available along with gaining an understanding of one’s career-related interests are very important parts of what is currently necessary. Added to these basics, students now need a great deal of confidence and motivation to explore the job market in much more discerning and self-directed ways.

They need to be able to find out, for instance, which careers are currently overloaded with personnel and try to forecast what particular work skills will be sought in the future. They may even need to be able to surmise what expertise may be needed to secure employment in occupations that are yet to be created. Such deliberate career planning, and wide-ranging information seeking, along with the personal skills necessary to carry them out, are illustrative of the ways in which Adolescent Career Education can cater for the acquisition of these new skill requirements.

I have discovered two wonderful resources that may be of particular use for students when exploring the future labour market. The first of these, Future Work Skills of 2020, comes from the University of Phoenix Research Institute. The infographic on this page provides a snapshot and the main document is available here. The second useful resource is produced annually by the Department of Employment in Australia. It includes detailed information about careers within industry sectors and breaks down employment statistics within the states and territories of Australia. It also provides predictions about the jobs of the future with comparisons of anticipated wages and projections about job growth. Click here to access this resource.


Important Work Skills In 2020




Subject Selection Help for Senior Students and Parents

jobFor many senior students, the time has come to select subjects that they will study during their final two years of schooling. This task inevitably compels them to consider possible career choices and to then research the most suitable pathways to these. In the past I have observed many different approaches to these decision-making tasks during the Senior Education and Training Plan interviews that I have conducted with parents and Year 10 students. Some parents are very keen to express their opinions about the subject choices and career goals being contemplated by their teenagers. While other parents tend to take a back seat and leave much of the decision-making up to their offspring. Of course, there are many other patterns of interaction in evidence in between these two extremes.

As with all aspects of parenting, there is no right or wrong way to help young people with their educational and vocational planning. It depends largely on the individuals involved and the most effective way to intervene according to parents’ understanding of what approach works best for their child. However, if you would like to read about some things that generally work well when it comes to helping children progress positively toward future academic and occupational pursuits, go to (scroll down below the Welcome to the Job Guide message). This excellent government publication will provide you with some key ways in which to help your teenager with career-related decision-making.

In addition to the useful information in this booklet there are some other really helpful resources both on the job guide web site and the web site. For instance, you can download diagrams depicting a wide range of senior subjects each presenting a huge array of associated careers. These are colloquially called the bullseye posters as the careers are presented in concentric circles according to the level of education required for each. They can be accessed from You will find many jobs listed within these pages that can then be researched using either the job guide or myfuture online resources. So this is another way to assist your child in their career decision-making. Simply ask them what their favourite school subjects are and help them to research the jobs they may be best suited to due to their enjoyment of that subject area. It is good to open their eyes to the vast world of work and help them to research the careers that could ultimately be the key to a satisfying future for them.

All too often young people have a very narrow view of careers and this limits their thinking and planning. For instance, do they know what an Entomologist does (if they like Biology) or what a Geophysicist does (if they like Geography) or what a Sound Technician does (if they like Media Studies) or what a Visual Merchandiser does (if they like Art) and so forth? If you’re unsure of the facts about certain careers yourself you can find detailed information about them including employment prospects, post-secondary courses, job tasks, personal requirements and much more using the or

I’d also like to take this opportunity to express my concern with regards to the Federal Budget released on 13 May this year in which it was stated that the Job Guide print and web will be funded up to the upcoming 2015 edition, but not beyond and that myfuture will be funded up to 31 December 2014, but not beyond. Apparently, unless the federal or state/territory governments are able to divert the relatively small amount of funding required to sustain these importance resources, they will disappear. I believe this to be a great pity since students, teachers and parents as well as career counsellors such as myself rely on these resources for up to date and accurate career-related information and comprehensive career education and exploration activities.

© Dr Lee-Ann Prideaux

Read more about Dr Lee-Ann Prideaux here.

Teenager bored in the holidays?

By Dr Lee-Ann Prideaux ©

When your teenager says to you over the holidays, “I’m bored” here are two suggestions that you can make to help them use this time effectively:

  1. You can clean the bathroom for me!iStock_000008958308Large
  2. Or you can do some research into possible careers using the site:
  • Click on My Guide and sign-in using an easy to remember username and password (Don’t forget them because you can keep revisiting and build up a career profile).
  • Click on My Profile and get going on the quizzes you can do there. There’s quite a few of them to do so that the program can gather lots of information on your Interests, Skills, Work and Study habits, Values and so forth. The more of these you provide answers to, the more likely you will narrow down the list of jobs you might be most suited to.
  • You can then click on Explore Career Ideas and tick the boxes according to the quizzes you have completed. This will enable you to view career fields based on your My Profile results.
  • Explore each of the career fields that have been generated for you and do some investigations of the occupations listed. There may be jobs there that you are not aware of and so it is a really good process for you to discover all the fields of work that you could enjoy doing once you leave school.

Myfuture is Australia’s leading career exploration service. It is a reliable facility for young people and adults to gain accurate and up to date information about the world of work. As well as the My Guide section described above, there is also a Facts section that provides detailed information about jobs including duties and tasks, specialisations, education and training pathways, Australian Bureau of Statistics linked data about labour market trends and earnings, as well as personal requirements and related industries. There are even a plethora of videos to watch with people describing their jobs from a practical perspective. Parents can use the Assist Others section to find out more about career development and how to support your child  when they don’t yet have an answer to the question, “What are you going to be when you grow up?”

Employability Skills and Personal Qualities

Employers seek workers with specific skills and qualities. These are personal and academic aptitudes that are required regardless of the type of work taking place. Students need to focus on the development of such attributes in order to succeed in their chosen career. Hence, the fostering of personal skills and academic capacities certainly are vitally relevant to one’s career development.

 A large study funded by the Department of Education, Science and Training and conducted by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Business Council of Australia was undertaken back in 2002. This study culminated in a report identifying key non-technical employability skills important not only to gaining employment but also to effective employee performance. This framework is undergoing further research and development and has been renamed as Core Skills for Employment (see for more details).

The personal attributes that were found to contribute to overall employability are:

  • loyalty, commitment, honesty and integrity, enthusiasm, reliability, personal presentation, common sense, positive self esteem, a sense of humour, a balanced attitude to work and home life, an ability to deal with pressure, motivation and adaptability. I think you’ll agree these are all developmental characteristics that are strongly promoted at our school.

The key skills identified are:

  • Communication (including listening, empathizing, speaking clearly and directly, persuading effectively, being assertive, writing to the needs of the audience etc.)
  • Team work (working across different ages and irrespective of gender, race, religion, working as an individual and as a member of a term etc.)
  • Problem solving (developing creative, innovative and practical solutions, solving problems in teams, using mathematics to solve problems etc.)
  • Initiative and enterprise (adapting to new situations, being creative, translating ideas into action, identifying opportunities not obvious to others etc.)
  • Planning and organising (managing time and priorities, being resourceful, taking initivative and making decisions, collecting, analyzing and organizing information etc.)
  • Self-management (having a personal vision and goals, evaluating and monitoring own performance, articulating own ideas and visions, taking responsibility etc.)
  • Learning (managing own learning, using a range of mediums to learn, having enthusiasm for ongoing learning, being open to new ideas and techniques etc.)
  • Technology (having a range of basic IT skills, using IT to organise data, being willing to learn new IT skills etc.).

Tips for Senior High School Parents

The final years of school for young people are obviously very important. These are the years that will put the icing on their education and bring an end to their formative years. This is the pointy end of their long journey through primary and high school. It is a time when, more than ever before, their academic learning and personal development will have direct career relevance. The reality is that the more effort they put in to these years, the more variety of post-secondary options will be open to them and consequently, a greater array of satisfying careers will ultimately be available to them.

Unfortunately, these senior years also coincide with the complex and confounding realities of probably the most difficult developmental stage of any human being … adolescence. For most young people this means the central focus of their world is peers, parties and pleasure. Lessons, learning and long term planning tend to be placed far down their list of priorities at this time. Parents, this is normal although regrettable given the importance of these school years and the timing of your son’s or daughter’s burgeoning (and developmentally appropriate) need for fun and freedom.

Fortunately, there are many subtle ways in which parents can bring some balance to this situation. I emphasize ‘subtle’ though because adolescents are innately opposed to parents using rigid authoritarian methods of behaviour management. They are no longer a child and they are very much aware of this fact, both physically, emotionally and intellectually. They are engaged in a gradual process of self-discovery. Parents become real human beings that they take a long hard look at. You are not the unquestioned big person in their world any more. Adolescents naturally sway toward the opinions of others and experiment with the world outside the confines of family during these years. Again, this is normal if a little disturbing to parents who say, what happened to my little girl/boy? Even though it seems your child has changed almost overnight, it is important that you respond to these changes with understanding and patience. You will need to really hold onto your temper at times and not allow your anxiousness to overflow at others. During these years you will need your best adult self to cope with the various predicaments your adolescent will generate for you. You will require great tact, forbearance and sensitivity.

So what can you do in order to close the gap between your desire for a diligent, hard-working senior student and your child’s desire to avoid any activity they deem boring or of little immediate relevance? I believe the answer is in career education. There is a very strong link between academic development and career development. The more you can gently coax an interest in exploring possible future careers and the various pathways to these careers, the more willing the young person is likely to put in the effort they need to get there. I list below a few suggestions for you to try in measured ways when you notice little windows of opportunity with your teenager.

1)     Stop asking about homework or assignment work or study – I put this first because it’s probably the hardest thing for you to do but it has the potential to reap the most benefits. The top advantage being that if you stop being the driving force behind whether school work is done or not your child will ultimately be forced to take responsibility for that themselves! Another big advantage is that you won’t be so stressed and your relationship with your child will improve. (I have suggested this as an experiment for many parents to try in the past. They were directed to talk with their adolescent about food, hobbies, the weather, favourite music, current affairs … anything at all other than anything to do with school work for a whole month. In every case the parent has returned saying, firstly, “That was so hard!” And secondly, “I didn’t realize how much of my conversation with my son/daughter was taken up by my nagging about their school work!” And thirdly, “It worked! I can’t believe it! They are really pulling up their grades and keeping up with everything now without me getting stressed and constantly nagging and checking!”)

2)    Weave into conversations with your adolescent anecdotes about employability skills. For instance, poor service at a retail outlet due to a worker’s lack of good communication skills is a good opportunity to point out the great ‘people skills’ that you see in your teenager.

3)    Draw parallels between the talents/abilities that your son/daughter displays and various careers that this talent or aptitude would be well suited to. For example, if they are the person to whom friends turn to when they need to talk to someone, let your teenager know that this could be an indicator for their suitability for various careers in the helping professions.

4)    Foster an enjoyment in learning by showing how much you enjoy learning yourself. For instance, take a TAFE course in photography and show how this learning has improved your skills and enhanced your enthusiasm for that hobby.

5)    Conversely, if you don’t enjoy the latest course your boss has deemed necessary for you to engage in, point out the advantages of doing it despite your lack of passion for it. For example, it may have led to a pay rise or the satisfying completion of professional development points.

6)    Model careful decision-making processes. When you need to buy an expensive household item, for example a new washing machine, be explicit about your steps leading up to the purchase so your teenager learns how to make informed and well thought out decisions.

7)    Familiarize yourself with the best online career information sites and do some research on them pertaining to your own career interests (e.g., or Once your child sees you exploring the world of work they will be more likely to take an interest in doing career interest quizzes and the like too. For a comprehensive list of useful career information sites, go to our ‘Useful Links‘ page.

8)    Encourage accurate information gathering about a variety of careers. For example, if your child is considering a few occupations, help them to find specific information about each to make accurate comparisons with regard to wages, conditions, required qualifications and so forth.

9)    Be open about your wages and how they are spent. Point out the wages offered to workers in a variety of jobs and compare the qualifications of different wage earners.

10) Attend career expos or university open days or go along to information sessions provided by private training organisations.

11)  Encourage family and friends to talk about their careers. This will expose your child to realistic discussions concerning the advantages and disadvantages of various types of work and will give them real world examples of how careers change and develop over the course of people’s lives.

© Lee-Ann Prideaux PhD


Career Development and the High School Student

The concept of a career has radically changed from an earlier time when many workers remained in a job for life. The world of work is such an ever changing entity now that young adults need to be equipped with the skills and confidence to manage their own careers throughout life. They will need to be very flexible because they will probably need to make many changes in their work roles during their adult lives. These may include moving from full time to part time work, from large global organisations to self-employment, from contractual to more permanent positions, from periods of unemployment to casual work and so on. Young people will also face the need for lifelong learning so that they can keep pace with new technologies and the ever changing demands of the labour market. They are also likely to need to be open to making complete shifts from one occupational field to another depending on their circumstances at various points in their lives.

Career Development is a term used to describe progression through a sequence of jobs that involve the recurring advancement of skills and exposure to a growing diversity of activities leading to greater responsibility, status and higher remuneration. Employers were once considered accountable for the career development of their employees, however, one’s career development is now more commonly viewed as being the personal responsibility of each worker. Career development is also now regarded as involving more than simply the job role a person fulfils. It encompasses all life roles and how they are managed and balanced out. Hence, career development is about the process of managing your life, your education and training as well as your work.

The process of career development actually begins with self-reflection. This is a very important skill for young people to engage in and surprisingly, one which they are not very good at! It involves being realistic and discovering answers to questions such as; Who am I? What do I like doing? What are my strengths? What are my interests? What do I need to learn? What do I value? Where do I want to live? What sort of life do I want to lead?

Career development is so much more than deciding upon the first job one aims for once leaving school. It’s about self-reflection, researching the world of work, goal setting, decision-making, and undertaking ongoing learning as well as reviewing plans and becoming proficient at self-management. It’s about one’s whole life, frequently recycling constructive competencies and developing new and productive process skills using a confident and determined approach in order to live the life you want.

© Lee-Ann Prideaux PhD