Start Talking

Making your careers conversations easier

It can feel overwhelming starting a conversation with your child about their future working life, particularly if they are struggling or disengaged with their college or school. But remember, the first conversation is just the beginning. Neither you nor they should feel pressure to have all the answers straightaway. This page is full of ideas on how to start your careers conversations and how to make them useful and motivating on an ongoing basis. Our resources section also has lots of other useful tips and tools.

Making your careers conversations easier - Talking Futures

Making your careers conversations easier

It can feel overwhelming starting a conversation with your child about their future working life, particularly if they are struggling or disengaged with their college or school. But remember, the first conversation is just the beginning. Neither you nor they should feel pressure to have all the answers straightaway. This page is full of ideas on how to start your careers conversations and how to make them useful and motivating on an ongoing basis. Our resources section also has lots of other useful tips and tools.

How to prepare

Keeping conversations
positive and productive

These are some ideas on keeping conversations productive, from a panel of experts (neuroscientists and psychologists) who specialise in understanding teenagers and how to communicate with them.

icon

Remember, very few people know from a young age what they want to do with their working life. So don’t feel you or your child needs to have the answer straightaway. The main thing is to take the first step with an initial conversation and then to keep the conversation going over time to explore ideas.

icon

Children can experience feelings of anxiety when asked to think about choices they know will affect their adult lives. They can easily shut down if they feel pressured in a conversation, so try and keep things light. Smaller, regular conversations will help this.

icon

Start a conversation by asking them about their passions, skills, and subjects they love. This will really help them feel heard and should enable a more positive conversation.

icon

Remember, short, bite-sized interactions in an informal setting, such as over dinner or when you’re watching something together, are likely to make your child more receptive, compared to more formal, planned conversations. Smaller interactions will feel more natural and less pressured.

icon

You may feel more comfortable speaking in a side-by-side setting outside the home like walking to the shops or travelling in a car or train. Your child may open up more if they’re not being looked at directly or having to make eye contact.

icon

Ask open-ended questions, rather than ‘yes/no’ answers, and really listen. Be supportive and follow their lead. Always remembering that there is more than one route to every destination and if your child’s interests and aspirations change, their pathway can adapt.

Huge thanks to Dr John Coleman, Dr Rebecca McKelvey, Professor Geraint Rees and Dr Genevieve von Lob for compiling the tips above.

Where to?