Seven ways to help your teen plan for their future

27 September 2021

Seven ways to help your teen plan for their future

1. Start the conversation

It’s never too late to talk to someone about their future. Remember to make it casual and when you’re both feeling at ease. It could be while cooking dinner together, taking a walk or driving.

Ask them what they want to do with their lives and what they’d like to see in their future. Encourage them to think freely and not worry about barriers. Planning how to overcome any obstacles can come later.

2. Look at the big picture

If your teen doesn’t have a clear idea of what they might like to do, reassure them that’s ok. They’re not alone. Remind them they don’t have to know all the answers and nothing’s set in stone. Everyone’s path changes, even yours.

There are three main pathways after high school. Some teens will leave school to learn a trade, some will go straight into a job, others will study at TAFE or university. Finding out which of these three options they’re most interested in will help you both focus.

3. Be open

Their goals or life plan might be different to yours which could bring up feelings of discomfort or disapproval. But it’s important to keep your expectations in check. Naturally, you want the best for them. But remember, your job is to help guide them. There’s a lot of pressure on young people to make all the right decisions at this age, but so much changes. This is where goal setting and planning are helpful – a plan naturally updates when goals change.

4. Do some research

There are many online resources you can both explore to find out what direction is best for them. Help to research their options and next steps. This will help them get a clear picture of what they need to do. Not sure where to begin? How about our career quiz?

5. Think outside the square

COVID-19 has changed a lot about how we work. Traditional ways of exploring work and getting a foot in the door have changed too.
If they’re interested in study, help them sign up to the virtual tours and information sessions universities and TAFE campuses run. While they may not be able to visit in person, they’ll still be able to get a taste of student life.

For some, an after-school job is a great way to ease into work. Unpaid work experience in an area they’re interested in is another option. With COVID changing the way we work, they may not be able to work on-site or shadow someone in-person. Instead, you could help them find a mentor who they can chat with online. Mentors can help them understand what it’s like to work in a particular job or industry. They’ll also make connections for the future.
Volunteering is another way to build their network, as well as getting an idea of what they enjoy (and don’t!). Volunteer work can also boost their confidence and grow their sense of community. Just like paid work and mentoring, there are options to volunteer online.

6. Set some goals

Once your teen has a shortlist of ideas, help them map out a list of goals and actions. Be sure to break these down into short, medium and long-term goals so they can track their progress. Checking in and ticking off goals off regularly will help keep them motivated. Read more about planning and setting goals, and download our goal setting planner here:

7. Talk to CoAct

If your teen is living with a mental health condition, illness or disability, they may be eligible for Disability Employment Services. As well as specialising in disability employment, we’re a leader in youth employment, and offer a range of programs that specifically support young people. We’ll meet your loved one where they’re at and help them find a job that suits who they are and what they’re interested in. Contact us today to get started.

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