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How to decide on a career for teenagers (II)

Thursday 28 April 2016

You’ll know we’ve been sharing a few career-planning insights and discussing how as foster parents you can help your foster children with the task of choosing a career, if you caught our last blog post.

In recent years there has been a renewed commitment to raising the ambitions of looked-after children. The Children’s Commissioner Report Ambitious for Children outlines some of the key challenges and goals in helping all children, including looked-after children, to realise their full potential. Guiding a teenager through these options may at times be difficult – there can be a lot of pressure on teenagers to achieve academically, but with so many career routes available, further education will not be the first choice for all.

If you and your teenager have already spoken about some potential professions, careers or even fields of interest, it’s time to start planning practical elements to find out what kind of qualifications or experience they might need to succeed in their chosen area. We hope you find these tips helpful for that process.

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Work experience

We mentioned work experience briefly in part one of this post. Many schools arrange some kind of work experience for pupils, but if your teen missed out on a placement or would like to add a little extra to their CV it can be a great way to help them narrow their career interests.

You may find help is on hand at school to help make the arrangements, though you’ll also find some fantastic advice and resources through the National Careers Service website, which can help you to arrange work placements independently. It covers important things like ensuring the safety of those on placement. For some professions it may not be possible to arrange hands-on work experience so it may be more appropriate to seek out work shadowing opportunities instead.

The Prince’s Trust also provides assistance to teens and those in their early to mid-twenties. In particular, it can help arrange work experience for individuals seeking employment.

Careers Advice

The National Careers Service offers a range of support including a telephone advice facility and a range of online tools that offer guidance on how to decide on a career for teenagers. It gives details on what’s involved in different job roles, how to pursue particular pathways, allows you to build an online portfolio of materials needed for your pursuit of further education or job roles and can signpost you to help in your local area. Those who feel that going to university is not for them or who would like to explore their wider options can also find interesting information on the site notgoingtouni.

Further education options

From school sixth form and colleges through to university, there’s a wide range of further education options available to teens. Many of these now incorporate more practical elements such as sandwich years in industry too. UCAS is the first point of call for those exploring their university options but there are now some great ways to learn while earning through apprenticeship schemes. Visit for more information.

Don’t worry if your teen is not very decisive about what they want to spend their life doing just yet, the key is to be on hand to offer support and let them know they do have choices open to them. If you’d like any further advice about how you as a foster parent can support them in their decisions, feel free to get in touch with our friendly team.

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