Your children need you (even if they sometimes say they don’t)

29 April 2020
Sonia Hardwick
Sonia Hardwick is the Continuing Professional Development Manager for the Higher Education Progression Partnership (Hepp) a partnership of Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield. 
How can you help your child think about their future and their career choices during these unprecedented and uncertain times?

When it comes to thinking about your child’s future and the careers they may choose, you have a big influence on what they choose to do, although it may not always feel like that! 

A study by the National Citizen Service concluded that teenagers today are more likely to choose a similar career to their parents than any generation for 100 years. 75% of students didn’t feel they had been given enough information, so they relied on advice from their parents to make decisions about their university and course choices.

This is also reinforced by a study carried out by South Yorkshire’s UniConnect programme HeppSY where 66% of young people surveyed say their family has the greatest influence on decisions about their future. 

The current world situation would have seemed unthinkable a few months ago: many aspects of our lives have been turned upside down. 

One of the key things the current pandemic demonstrates is how we learn to adapt and become creative in the face of adversity.

Technology has enabled work, learning and personal contact with family and friends to continue, so crucial in the present time, but also into the future as we move forward in a forever changed world.

Depending on the age of your daughter or son, there will be key decisions for you to make as a family. Some won’t be leaving education for several years and will be entering careers and jobs that do not even exist yet!

It is clear that it will be high level technical and transferable skills (such as creativity and problem solving) that put young people in the best possible place to take advantage of the labour market.

Personal development, experiences and qualifications are equally important: your family environment is significant in fostering all three facets as they transition from a child to a young adult.

From innovations including driverless cars, 3D printing and cancer-detecting algorithms, every corner of the economy will continue to be transformed by new technology.

This will have an impact on so many occupations as processes and roles are automated. Research undertaken by the Bank of England analysed 20 million jobs and suggested that 1.5 million of these are at high risk of automation, with humans likely to be replaced by computer programs, algorithms or robots.

So here are some top tips for supporting your son or daughter in planning their future:

  • Encourage your son or daughter to take part in as many activities as they can to boost their experiences of work, education and their community (when they are able to). These include National Citizenship Service, volunteering, work experience, employer visits and university tasters. These will provide opportunities for developing essential life skills.
  • Talk to them about the employers, apprenticeship providers, university and college
    representatives that come into their school. Has it sparked an interest for you all to research as a family
  • These shared career’ conversations will improve motivation at school as your child begins to understand the relevance of their studies. It will also make you feel more involved in their future.
  • When you can, get involved in school activities (that may be some way into the future!)
  • Make sure you access accurate and up to date advice from careers advisers and approved websites. Contact your school to see what service is currently on offer with regard to careers advice and guidance.
  • Investigate emerging careers and courses. There are plenty of sources of information and advice to help you. Labour Market Information for All and Future Morph are two useful starting points.
  • Keep an open mind and be supportive of their choices and encourage your son or daughter to think as broadly as possible and aim as high as they can go in life.

The exact future of work is currently uncertain, but more than ever we need to instil in young people the skills so they can adapt and thrive in this rapidly changing world.

Your role as parents and carers is vital to their success.

Sources of information

For further information, please visit;
UniConnect Programme – impartial advice and guidance about college and university. There is a section for parents and carers as well as young people.
Hepp (Higher Education Progression Partnership) works across South Yorkshire. Visit HeppHUB at to access lots of activities of parents, teachers and children.

Our blog is a place for a range of opinions and debate on parents and their role in their schools and their children’s education. Whilst we think this debate is really important, we don’t always agree with the views being expressed.