Subject selections can create a good deal of anxiety for parents and their children. The challenge for parents is to find the balance between guiding and supporting your child, without taking over and doing it yourself.
Dr Frederick Osman, the Director of Vocational Education at Trinity Grammar School offers parents the following practical advice for striking the right balance:
- Start the conversation: Boys will usually need to make subject selections in Year 7 and Year 10, so start the conversation early. Ask your son what subjects he enjoys at school; what is he good at; what do others say he is good at? – and really listen! Talk about the type of careers that might be associated with the pursuit of those subjects. Talk about your own experiences. Your role is to get a deep understanding of what your son enjoys doing, his aspirations and whether he already has clear thoughts on a career post school.
- Not knowing is okay: Some boys can feel pressure and anxiety when it comes to subject selections, particularly if they don’t have a clear idea of what they want to do. Take the pressure off by explaining to your son that there are lots of options, and then methodically work through the options talking about the pros and cons of each.
- Understand all the options yourself: The world has changed since you were at school. Students have access to an enormous range of options, pathways and vocational education and training opportunities. You might find it helpful to discuss ideas and options with teachers or careers advisers at school.
- Consider the future jobs market: According to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), “Our labour market will be fundamentally reshaped by the scope and breadth of technological change.” Help your son understand where the jobs of the future will be.
- Role models: Is there someone in your social and family circle, school community or a work colleague who could provide some insider insight into your son’s preferred career choice? Encourage him to make a list of questions and reach out to them to learn more about the career/industry.
- Narrow the field: Decision making is an important life skill, so encourage your son to start to review his options, eliminate those subjects that don’t match with his aspirations and narrow the field. Find out about university, college and training entrance requirements to ensure the subjects selected are compatible with requirements.
Through a series of workshops, students at Trinity Grammar School are learning skills to help them with their studies and life after the HSC/IB. The Career Education Life Skills Programme helps students develop practical skills that assist them in building their resume and joining the workforce. “Although good grades are important, employers also look for well-rounded individuals who are able to demonstrate their skills outside the classroom,” said Dr Frederick Osman, Director of Vocational Education at Trinity Grammar School.
“It’s often assumed students have the foundations needed to seek and maintain employment, however this may not always be the case.”
“Our Life Skills Careers Programme instils the skills students need for life after high school, whether that be as tertiary students or as part of the workforce.”
“The programme, which runs throughout the term, also includes lunchtime sessions with universities and pathway providers who offer students in Years 10 to 12 examples of what life is like after Year 12. I view these lunchtime sessions as students’ first career lunches. Often important life lessons are discussed over lunch or during a family meal, so this really makes a difference.”
To equip parents and students with the knowledge to feel secure in their subject selections, Trinity Grammar School holds detailed information evenings for Year 7 boys and Year 10 boys and their parents. Attending these evenings will assist you in helping your son make subject selections. On these evenings, families have the opportunity to hear information on subject options together, and may take advantage of the many staff who will be available to offer information and advice.