Career planning for your child

Experts talk about how you can help your child broaden their ideas about work and career paths.

Views expressed in interviews may not be the views of the NSW Department of Education and Communities.

At a glance

  • Kids become better learners when parents get involved.
  • Involved parents are encouraging to kid's pursuit of higher education.
  • Kids are happier when parents are involved.
  • Think laterally about how to get involved in your teen's school life.
  • Seek suggestions from your child's teacher if you run out of ideas.


About bullying

Little girl
When I grow up I want to be a nano-surgeon.

Little girl
I want to be a fire fighter.

Little boy
When I grow up I want to be a climate-change reversalist.

Even little kids have big ideas about what they want to do when they grow up.

As parents how can we help prepare them for the future?

Bernard Salt
As a parent one of the most confronting aspects of looking at our kids' future employment opportunities is the fact that many of the jobs that they'll be involved in within 10 years let alone 20 years have not even been invented.

We'll still need plumbers in 2050, we'll still need electricians, but those sorts of jobs will be supported by other types of very technical-type jobs that we haven't even thought of.

Jim Bright
Talk to your children positively about jobs that they've seen in the community, or they've seen on TV or on the internet.

Encourage your child to see themselves in as many different lights as possible, that they have lots of different things they can offer the world of work.

Lucinda Barlow
Get your kids to do something that they're really passionate about, follow their dreams and hone the skill around that passion. That's going to make you a more creative person, that's going to mean that you'll really enjoy your job, and you might do something that changes the world.

Jim Bright
Don't worry if your child wants to be a champion athlete many children do. Rather than dismissing it think about all of the related jobs that they might be able to do pursuing that dream. For instance physiotherapy, sports management, sports administration, marketing the list is endless.

Courses which are going to be important in the future include ones that are going to support information technology and ones which are going to support communications. Courses which are around international communications such as languages, such as diplomacy, such as psychology, all of those areas I think are going to be in demand, as well as courses to do with helping an ageing population.

Bernard Salt
The sort of skills you would be looking for would be people who are open to ideas that have a global view, that are willing to collaborate.

Lucinda Barlow
Whether you are going to be a scientist, or whether you'll be an artist or a doctor data is going to be a really important part of all jobs.

Get your kids to study maths, study maths at the highest level that they can. Maths is going to be crucial to every job, particularly any job that touches technology.

Jim Bright
Encourage them to realise that work is full of rewards, that it's not just about money, it's a fantastic opportunity to help society, improve things, discover new things, work with other people, develop your skills.

Parents can help their children be more prepared by giving up on the idea that they have to predict exactly where their children are going to end up.

Lucinda Barlow
I'm extremely passionate about my career. My background is electrical engineering and computer science but somehow I've found myself in a communications role but working with technology day to day.

Jim Bright
Most careers have chance and unplanned events which can be positive – the unexpected promotion, the offer of a job or unfortunately sometimes those setbacks due to injury or illness or economic circumstance. If your kids can learn to roll with those punches, to spot the opportunities and take advantages of those they're going to be far more successful.

Jim Bright
If your kids are going to be leaving school in the next three to five years, encourage your kids to get as much information as possible – that means talking to careers advisers, going online, looking at different courses at university and TAFE and so forth. But it also means encouraging those children to think about this decision as the first of many, many career change decisions that they'll be making throughout their lives. This is the first step on a really exciting journey.

And you'll find more information about helping your child plan a career at


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