Father and son talking

3 Tips For Talking To Your Parents About Careers

Deciding what you want to do next after school or college can feel overwhelming with so many options available. When you combine that with talking to your parents about your next steps it may not always be easy. Especially when you’re considering a pathway that they might not have considered. 

With the introduction of new qualifications, such as T Levels, and misconceptions by parents that ‘apprenticeships are for trades only’, parents can find it difficult to understand your choices.

The world of work has changed since your parents were starting out in their career. Take the apprenticeship route for instance, what was once considered as a pathway for those who didn’t do well in school or college can now in fact lead to a degree qualification and you can actually do a wide variety of jobs from engineering to a midwife, accountant and much more! 

We’ve put together a list of top tips to help you navigate the conversation of careers with your parents.

#1 Manage your parents' expectations

Finding a balance between the direction you want your career path to go and your parents expectations can feel like a battle. Although this can make you feel under pressure, try to remember that they only want the best for you. This doesn’t mean that wanting the best for you, is them knowing what is best for you. Ultimately, it’s your choice. And even if you do choose a path that isn’t right for you, it’s certainly not the be all and end all. 

We like to think of career paths as zig zags and a job for life is a thing of the past.

Woman thinking

#2 Do your research

Do your research until you know more than them! When talking to your parents about your next steps, you need to show you understand your choice. If you don’t understand your choice, how can you expect your parents to? If you’re still unsure about your options, you could speak to a career adviser or teacher at school who can help. 

Think about what you’d like to do and research pathways into the role. For example, if you’d like to become a doctor then your only option is to go to university.

After doing your own research, you could also research together with your parents to show them that you’re dedicated and understand all of your options.

#3 Listen to their concerns

Your parents may have concerns about the pathway you’ve chosen to embark on. Listen to these concerns and use your research to address them. For example, if your parents would prefer you to choose university over an apprenticeship, explain that you don’t need to choose between the two as some careers can lead to a degree through the apprenticeship route. 

If your parents would rather you do earn via the apprenticeship route but you’d like to go to university and they are worried about the student debt, know your facts and understand how much you repay and when you start repaying.

Finally, remind them that the choice is yours but you value their opinion.

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