Help your young person make the right choice for their future

Mother and daughter look at a laptop together

The end of secondary school can be a difficult time for learners who are trying to navigate their way into a career. As parents, your guidance is important but it can be hard to know when to step back and let your young person work things out for themselves.

Our top tips for helping your young person make a career decision

1. Be supportive

Being supportive is the best way to help your young person. Give them time to explore their options. You could set up a time for them to talk to someone you know who works in the industry they’re interested in, or you could offer to take them to a university open day. There’s a lot of pressure on young people who are about to finish school, so having the backing of their family is important.

2. Don't impose your opinions

You may have an idea about what you think would be best for them, but some young people won't respond well to being told what to do. Discuss their hobbies and whether the skills they learn while doing them could be applied to training or a career.

3. Understand that things are changing

Where and how we work has changed dramatically over the years, with different technologies and skill demands. Your young person may be considering a career in an area that didn't exist five years ago, making it harder for you to offer help. Use our jobs or courses databases to find out more about the career or area of study your young person is interested in.

4. Encourage them to get a part-time job

Taking on some part-time or voluntary work will help your young person to understand how to fit into a workplace. They will also learn new skills that will help them get ahead, and make it easier to continue learning when they start a new job or course.

5. Direct them to some practical guidance

Careers.govt.nz has a range of tools and information to help young people work out what they want from their career.