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 http://www.jobguide.thegoodguides.com.au/ (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 www.myfuture.edu.au 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 http://www.myfuture.edu.au/tools-and-resources/learning-tools-for-secondary-students/bullseye-posters-explore-occupations-by-school-subject. 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 www.myfuture.edu.au or www.jobguide.thegoodguides.com.au/.

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.

Parenting Your Year 12 School Student

Every parent wants the best for their child. This is true for all stages of their child’s development. But this urge for their progeny to be the best they can be may cause big problems when the young person is in their final year of schooling. Even the most chilled out and laid back parent can become a bit overbearing or slightly anxious and meddling. On the other end of the scale, a parent who is usually fairly well in control of their offspring can find themselves placing even firmer restrictions on their child’s time and activities. It’s normal to want them to reach their full potential academically. It’s normal to want them to do their best and thus enjoy the positive consequences of their hard work.

But here’s the dilemma … by the time a person is in their last year of school they are actually nearly at the end of that bridge between childhood and adulthood. They are in the late adolescent stage and, as such, they are naturally resistant to parental authority.

Parents, more than ever before, you are required at this time (and for a whole year) to be a diplomat, a self-composed supporter, an unflappable observer and a carefully restrained prompter. No longer will your nagging or threats or withdrawal of privileges work. The more you are able to trust that you have done your best in raising your child, and the more you are able to accept that it’s time to let go, the more likely it is that they will step up and take the reins themselves. Yes, they may make mistakes; they may need to lift their own game along the way to get the best results. But they have to find something within themselves now. If you take on a background supportive role you will see them sigh with relief and puff out with pride at the sense of faith you are showing in them. To ban them going to gym or to ban them attending that party or to ban them from social media is to set up relational conflict and stubborn rebellion. I’ve seen too many young people go on strike and lay down their tools (figuratively speaking of course – you know, refuse to study, withdraw into gloominess, play computer games all night) in response to parents just trying to help their son or daughter get good grades. In the long run it’s not worth it! What’s more important is a happy and well-adjusted Year 12 student who has a loving and trusting relationship with their parent.thority. They are just about fully individuated. That means, they are really becoming their own person and they are innately wired to strive to be independent and do their own thing. What a pity this coincides with Year 12!

 

© 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