Making decisions about your future can be daunting. Looking to parents, guardians, teachers, friends can help guide you in your thinking. It is good to also be involved and make sure you have input so life doesn’t simply happen to you.
You probably started to manage your own career when you chose your GCSE options. Our career is our lifelong journey of learning, work and life, from study choices to hobbies and interests, from part-time jobs to career aspirations. Teachers and parents will be asking you to consider the choices you make for GCSEs, then for post-16 study and then for post-18 progression.
When you’ve finished your GCSEs will you choose college, sixth form or an apprenticeship?
When you’ve finished your level 3 studies would you like to go to university, do a higher apprenticeship or go straight into work with no further study?
Two things to consider are:
- What do you like?
- What are you good at?
You can talk to your family and friends about this, exploring your interests and skills with the people you trust and who know you.
Next, think about where your interests and skills could lead you. Use the internet to research career ideas that match your interests and skills. Don’t be limited by people’s suggestions but use them as a starting point to find out more. Be creative with your searches. Just as you may find new music and game content by being curious, allow yourself to follow a thread, even if it’s leading to a career you’ve never heard of before. This may take you to your dream job!
Remember your support network. Talk with family, friends and teachers about the new career ideas you may have discovered. Let them ask questions, if you can’t answer them, this is a sign that you need to do further research.
Then think about what decisions you need to make to help you get to that dream job.
What snack would you choose to eat? How would you make that decision?
Where would you like to go for a day out with your friends? How would you make that decision?
You probably wouldn’t like to be told what snack to eat. It should be the same with your career decisions. If you need help with how to make study route decisions, book an appointment with the careers adviser at school (or use the National Careers Service). These trained professionals will help you to understand how to make decisions to choose study and career routes, based on your interests and skills, that you will enjoy.
Be ready for the future
No one knows what is around the corner, and the recent world-wide events with the Covid-19 crisis have brought this home to a lot of people.
You can plan for a perfect career, but life will occasionally get in the way. So, make sure you develop behaviours that will help you through future uncertain times, whenever they occur. Be curious, resilient, flexible and optimistic. With these attributes, you’ll be better prepared to cope when things don’t quite go as you expect.
About the author:
Liz Painter is a former teacher, a qualified careers practitioner and works for the Cheshire and Warrington LEP. Her job involves helping schools to work with employers to prepare young people for the world of work.