Help your child find their career

How to help your child make good, thoughtful choices about their career.

Career conversations can start early

Kids are starting to become self-aware around the age of 11 or 12, so you could talk about:

  • what your kids are good at
  • how your kids interact with others
  • your own job, as well as the jobs people do in your whānau
  • different jobs.

Equip your child with life and work skills

  • Give your child roles and responsibilities at home.
  • Encourage them to get involved in activities outside of school, like art, community work or sport.
  • Help your child to attend school every day.
  • Use your personal contacts, such as family and friends, to help them into work.
  • Encourage them to develop their business skills – they could sell things they have made or negotiate their pocket money.

Build dreams with your child

  • Give positive feedback on the things your kids are good at.
  • Ask your child about their dreams for the future.
  • Provide a wide variety of experiences for your child.
  • When you’re watching TV or movies, ask “what do you think they did before they were famous?” or, “I’ve never heard of that job before, have you?”

Be a good role model

  • Do you have a CV? Show your child.
  • Tell your child your work story – how school was for you, and how you found your first job.
  • Take your child to work for the day or during the holidays.
  • Talk about your own dreams and plans for your future.

Help your child explore career options

  • Encourage your child to widen their job research beyond well-known jobs by using our Jobs Database.
  • Help your child book time with their school's career adviser to chat about ideas and get resources.
  • Use our interactive tools with your child, such as CareerQuest and Subject Matcher.
  • Encourage your child to do work experience and out-of-school activities to develop their skills and interests.

Make sure your child has an up-to-date CV

Your child may need a CV for work experience, after school work or when leaving school.

Use our tools to help your child:

Help your child to get work experience

  • Research work experience options such as Work Inspiration, STAR, Gateway and Youth Guarantee.
  • Help your child book an appointment with their school's career adviser to get into a work experience programme.
  • You can also help your child access work experience opportunities by talking to your contacts, friends and family/whānau.

How to help when your child is struggling

Choosing a career path can create a lot of pressure for your child. There are many ways you can make this easier for them.

  • Help your child break down choosing a career into small steps rather than one big decision – they could start by researching jobs they are interested in online, and writing down their skills.
  • Encourage your child to interview people who are doing jobs that they're interested in to find out what these roles are really like.
  • Give your child time and space to make a decision. It is better they take their time, rather than enrol in an expensive course that they're not sure about.
  • Remember that careers change. Your child may need to choose something that is right for them now, and some may not have the confidence needed for certain jobs until they get older.

When my daughters were making career choices I found it really helpful to ask them about their studies and encourage them to share a highlight or something new they learned that day. Probably the most important thing I did to help was believe in them, accept the choices that they made and support them.

Tolo Pereira

Tolo Pereira

Parent and Early Childhood Centre Teacher

Updated 19 Oct 2016