Starting a conversation with a teenager

Starting the conversation with young people as they navigate their teen years can be tricky, especially if they haven’t a clue what they want to do with their life. A discussion about the sort of lifestyle they imagine for themselves might just be the ice breaker you’re looking for.

Some questions that will help them consider what’s important might include:

  • Do you want to live close to your family or friends?
  • Can you imagine living in another state or country?
  • Do you want to work long hours or have flexible hours?
  • Do you want to be in an office or prefer something more active?
  • What do you want to do when you’re not at work (e.g. be near a beach, continue with your footy training, go bush walking)?

Questions like these might just help shape some ideas about the type of work, industry and location that fit with the lifestyle that teenagers imagine for themselves. It might not provide all the answers but at least you have a starting point to help them ponder life after school.

Here are some other common concerns for adults along with information to help you get up to speed so that you can help the teenage people in your circle think about their future.


They are always on their mobile or online

Online is a world of great resources. Take YouTube, for example, that’s not just there for music but where you’ll also discover useful vlogs on careers and finding a job. Try helping them search for the information that they will find useful.  You can also encourage them to do a career quiz or aptitude test to get a clear idea of what they might be good at.

They have struggled with depression throughout high school

These days, there is much more awareness around mental illness and initiatives to support young people’s mental health.  An organisation such as CoAct, has specialist support available to help teenagers develop the skills they need to feel ready to enter the workforce. There is also a strong focus on post-placement support to do everything possible to help them succeed.

They are keen to know more about apprenticeships

You can’t beat on-the-job experience and that’s exactly what you can expect from an apprenticeship. Some students decide to look for an apprenticeship when they finish Year 10 where as others may decide to wait until they graduate Year 12. The right opportunity will see them receive thorough training in their chosen trade as well as giving them the chance to gain real-world industry insight.

They want to work but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of jobs in the area we live

Youth opportunities vary in different regions around Australia and it can be a challenge for teenagers to find meaningful work in some local communities. It is a real fact that if they want a job in mining they are unlikely to get that in the city and moving for a job is not uncommon. However, if it’s more important to not move away from the family area then looking for what type of work is in the area is the first step.


CoAct is here to help build confidence and give teenagers the right advice and support.

Our Service Partners play a critical role in delivering services at a local level to provide community connections and help your teenager develop the skills they need to become an employable adult.

For more information, get in touch with our friendly team today!


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