Empowering Teens for Successful Careers
This is a guest post from Acuity Training on how parents can support career-readiness in teens and help teenagers make good decisions about future jobs, learning and training.
As parents, we hope that our teens will pick their careers wisely because this choice will have a profound impact on their lives. It will influence their financial stability, work-life balance, and even their overall quality of life.
We want to see our children thrive in the careers they choose. When our teens embark on the journey of selecting a career, we share in their excitement and nervousness. Our feelings at this juncture are a lot like when we first helped them learn to balance their bicycles. We want to support them in case they fall, but we also want them to learn and become independent.
How can parents guide teens to careers that align with their interests and allow them to become financially independent? Which career will allow my child to lead a comfortable and meaningful life? How can we equip our teens with valuable skills for the careers of tomorrow?
Here’s what you can do to support and guide your child in this crucial but exciting journey:
1. Start Early with Exposure to Different Jobs and Industries
Exposure to different jobs and industries is what will connect the world of learning with the world of work in the eyes of our teens. Parents can help here by organising field trips, job shadows, or informational interviews to spark teens’ interest. This way, our teens will develop a better understanding of different jobs and what they actually entail, and get a sense of the education and skills they will need to enter that field. Exploring jobs in this practical way may also help them understand their interests better.
Teens often change their minds about their future path and career interests. Seeing jobs up close and maybe experiencing a little bit of the work themselves, can support their decision-making and help them can compare different jobs and industries.
2. Focus on Developing Soft Skills
Soft skills hold value in all professions. Hard skills, on the other hand, are job specific. Hard skills can be taught and learned quickly, but soft skills take time. We need to encourage our teens to develop those softer skills, like interpersonal skills and teamwork. No matter what career they choose, these skills will improve their employability and their ability to work as part of a larger system.
Extracurricular activities can be helpful for improving teamwork and leadership. We should also encourage our teens to hone their presentation skills, as these can help improve their communication abilities, provide a boost to their confidence, and eventually contribute to a more professional image.
3. Encourage Digital Literacy
It is important to ensure that teens can effectively use common tech and online tools for school and work. As simple as it sounds to us already in the workforce, something as basic as learning how to use a spreadsheet through training will set them up for more complicated tools in the future. So, make sure their basic literacy and research skills are in place.
4. Emphasize Continuous Learning
According to John Dewey, “The goal of education is to enable individuals to continue their education”. We need to educate our children with this in mind. Instilling in them a growth mindset and the willingness to keep learning throughout life will serve them well in the future.
Continuous learning helps us all to expand our skills as and when required and remain competitive. A positive attitude to learning will have a positive impact on teens’ work performance, too as it helps broaden perspectives and generate innovative ideas.
5. Teach Financial Literacy
It’s also crucial to teach teens about budgeting and how to make spending decisions, as well as how to plan and save for future goals. We can encourage younger children to set financial goals and manage simple spending through pocket money and then gradually hand over greater financial responsibility as they get older (e.g. providing an allowance for teens to buy their own clothes or lunches).
Clarifying financial concepts early can have a positive impact on the careers and lives of our kids. We need to encourage them to think about potential income, job stability, and long-term financial prospects so that they arrive at good decisions.
6. Get Professional Support
Arranging sessions with a career counsellor can help teens explore wider job options. They might get useful feedback via career assessments and personality tests, too. These can provide teens with useful insights into their strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes, and these insights will help them choose a career path that aligns with their talents and preferences.
While some teens know from an early age what they want to do when they grow up, others will only find out as they go along (and there might be false starts along the way). We can’t make those decisions for them but we can help them develop key skills and confidence through guidance and hands-on experiences.
Acuity Training provides in-person and online training courses for popular business software, plus soft skills and management training.