How parents can influence their children’s choice of career

parents can influence their children's career choice

My thirteen-year-old son is showing signs of being an amazing designer.  He is constantly doodling, sketching (he won’t allow me to show them off here – yet), creating templates or mock-ups, and his bedroom is full of all his little creations.  

As parents, we’re obviously keen to channel his enthusiasm in the right direction.  He’s expressed an interest in product design, so needless to say, we feed his interest as much as possible with design outings, design history, art projects, CAD projects – anything really.  As long as it has something to do with design, you name it we do it.  And he laps it all up!


So I was very interested to see the findings of a recent survey of 7,000 school and college leavers, conducted by GTI Media and CASCAID called the “trendence School Leaver Barometer 2014“.


The survey found that although most students seem pretty happy with what they get in the way of careers support, many schools continue to struggle to find the resources to offer consistent careers advice and information.  And when it comes to offering guidance on the critical decisions facing children, the research shows that parents and friends of the family are considerably more influential than teachers.


The survey discovered that:

  • The family was nearly three times as influential as teachers in helping school children choose between work and university
  • For the children who opted for work/apprenticeships at 18, advice from friends and family was considered to be the best way to find out about employers and career areas
  • For children planning to go university, parents were six times as influential as teachers in helping to choose the best universities, however,
  • 76% of parents said they did not know where to look for information about alternatives to university.


Universities and employers are very focused on engaging with school and college students to promote higher education and employment, but it appears that both need to engage with parents too as they have a real and growing impact on the decisions their children make.  But although parents are influential in helping with university choices, they appear to be struggling with finding information about the many fine alternatives to university.


The survey explored students’ experience of careers guidance and information, access to employers, career plans and their choice of job, employer, apprenticeship or university.


Chris Phillips, Information and Research Director at GTI Media said: “GTI Media is pleased to launch the trendence School Leaver Barometer survey 2014 which provides a snapshot of what school students think about their future, the help they are getting to make career decisions and their plans for future employment. It also highlights the need for parental engagement and the provision of better careers information for these important influencers.”


Richard Harrison, Chief Executive of CASCAID said: “Our findings echo other research which firmly shows that when young people are making important decisions about their future, they value input from the people who know them best. The challenge for schools and careers advisers is to make sure that parents and carers are aware of all of the opportunities available in terms of learning, training and careers. At CASCAID we have a key mission to support the schools that we work with to involve parents and carers at key decision points.”


So parents, what do you think?




I’m Mary Cummings, a ghostwriter, collaborator and all round word doctor. I help business owners write and publish business books; I'm also passionate about helping creative freelancers find work that they love - their work sweet spot with work on their terms, projects they love and clients who are a dream to work for.

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