August 31st, 2022

Author: Cara Jenkin


There may be a lot of things that teenagers don’t want to get help from their parents about, but career advice is not one of them.

In fact, parents are the number one source of information and the biggest influencer in their post-school job and study decisions.

Maybe all those times that Mum or Dad said, “If you study hard enough at school, you’ll get a good job” sunk in subconsciously. Or maybe it was, “Whatever you do, don’t follow in my footsteps”.

Some parents may be more direct and push their children into a certain occupation, whether they want to do it or not. Others may try to be neutral but their true feelings come across anyway.

However, at a time when research is revealing that young people today will work in 17 different jobs in their lifetime, and up to 85 per cent of jobs that people will be employed in by 2030 have not yet been created, parents need to take a different approach than what may have worked previously.

The Career Development Association of Australia says even when parents are up-to-date with job opportunities and growth areas, there’s still a great deal of uncertainty about the future, particularly around the effect of automation on jobs.


Being armed with some facts yourself can be a good starting point.

There are many government websites that provide information about jobs and industry growth areas, and how to get those jobs.

For example, did you know that just as many jobs in the next five years are going to require a vocational qualification, such as an advanced diploma, diploma, or certificate II, III or IV, than will require a bachelor degree or higher qualification?

The National Skills Commission’s Labour Market Insights portal also provides information on skill shortages – did you know almost half (42 per cent) of all trades and technician occupations have a skills shortage, compared to 19 per cent of professional roles?

In particular it reports hairdresser, child care worker and motor mechanic as having a skills shortage – three jobs that will not be automated any time soon, unless you want a robot styling your hair or looking after grandchildren, and even autonomous cars will need someone to service the computer system.

There is nothing to stop a child from pursuing the career of their dreams that may have limited opportunities – people do make it as world famous actors, for example.

But for every famous actor there are a host of other jobs in work around it, from film directors and lighting technicians, to make-up artists and set construction crew – so for every job you know about, there are also many pathways and occupations that you may not know much about in related areas, that may be perfect for your teenager.

It takes a little bit of guidance, research and experience in the field to uncover the right career path.



If your child doesn’t know what career they want to do yet:

  • There are many free online quizzes that can provide a good starting point – try these quizzes by Skills Road, YourCareer and Open Colleges. There also is a quiz available by logging into the MyFuture
  • Get them to try working in various industries, such as through work experience programs, part-time jobs, or volunteering. Even just finding out if they prefer working inside or outside can help narrow down job options.
  • Get them to start a conversation with a career practitioner or counsellor, who will have many more tools at their disposal. All Australians aged 15-24 are eligible for a free one-on-one, 45-minute career guidance session with a qualified career practitioner through the School Leavers Information Service. The information service is available via text, email or phone.

Text SLIS2022 to 0429 009 435 (Minimal call/text costs may apply)


Call 1800 CAREER (1800 227 337)


If your child does know what career they want to do:

  • Help provide opportunities for them to test it out before they go down the path of studying, such as work experience or getting a part-time job in the industry.
  • If you have friends or family who work in that area, invite them around for dinner one night to get their thoughts and insights into the pros, cons and requirements of working in that industry.


If your child is undecided about their career choice:

  • Get them to absorb information about career paths, such as watching videos at SkillsOne.
  • Trying before buying can reveal the reality of working in a job. Many training organisations and TAFEs run Try A Trade day of activities and pre-apprenticeship courses for those interested in trades; a vocational qualification such as a certificate II or III can provide a taste as well as practical skills to work in many professional areas; and never underestimate the power of work experience.


If a parent is unhappy with their child’s career choice:

  • Keep an open mind and do the research yourself. Many career websites have dedicated areas not just for those deciding on careers, but parents too! For example, MyFuture, Skills Road and YourCareer have tailored advice for parents.

Don’t know where to start?

Watch SkillsOne’s Skills and Thrills digital showcase to get started:


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