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Stressed, time-poor parent of a high student? Read this!

If you’re struggling to keep up with everything that’s going on with you high schooler when it comes to making choices about their future career, this is for you

The world of high school, choosing electives, and helping your child to make decisions about their future career can be confusing and, well, daunting. As a time-poor parent, you are juggling so many balls and this is just another one to keep in the air. That’s why we’ve created this quick high school careers cheat sheet. It covers the basics of setting up your child for a study and career path they’ll love (and that involves STEM!) while they’re still at school, and also answers questions about STEM and how it plays a huge role in the jobs of the future.

And if there are any other subjects you’d love us to cover, please leave your thoughts in the comments below. We also encourage you to take a look through the Careers with STEM Parents Portal, which is filled with helpful info and fantastic podcast episodes, and to subscribe to our parents e-newsletter that will hit your inbox monthly.

Careers cheat sheet for high school parents

Stressed or confused about choices your child needs to make about their future? Have a scroll through this to get some much needed clarity!

What is STEM?

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and maths. But it’s more than just a collection of subjects. Having skills in STEM can help your child secure a stable, well-paying job in the future – in the last 20 years, employment in STEM occupations has grown by 85% – more than twice as fast as non-STEM occupations (40.2%).

We’ve created a crash course in STEM and STEM careers to get you up to speed.

STEM subjects not your child’s ‘thing’? That’s okay. There are so many ways to combine STEM with their interests, hobbies and passions. We call this finding your STEM + X and you can read more about that – and find some exciting and interesting real life examples – here.

How do you go about helping your child choose electives for Year 11 and 12?

With so many subjects to choose from, this process can be really overwhelming for students and parents. We’ve written a lot about choosing electives and have a whole section of our website dedicated to it.

Short on time? Here are some highlights:

Still stuck? We have five excellent quizzes that will help your child choose their electives.

Does your child want to drop maths? Get them to consider the ‘pluses’

Before they subtract it from their life completely, chat about the benefits maths will have when applying for uni or landing their first job. Loads of uni courses include standard Year 12 maths as a prerequisite, not to mention the fun, exciting – and surprising – careers that use numbers every day.

Read our 6 reasons not to drop maths article and use these points when discussing whether to drop or not.

Are you having trouble talking about careers with your child? Here’s how to do it

Talking to teens about anything can be hard! It’s important though to check in with them about their future goals, and that includes a study and career path for life after school. Our number one piece of advice to get things started? Pick the right moment.

Here are three great conversation starters to try, as well as a bunch of tips on things like keeping an open mind, finding role models and giving them space.

Is your knowledge shaky on the study and career path your child is interested in? Role models can help

Parents and carers play a big role in inspiring and influencing their child’s future career path. But what do you do when you know little, or nothing, about the field they’re passionate about pursuing? First of all, read as much as you can about it. You can explore STEM careers in science, technology, engineering and maths on the Careers with STEM site, or filter by ‘X’ (their non-STEM interest that can be linked to a STEM career!). It’s also good to find them role models in the area they’d like to get into. Do any family members or friends work in that industry or a similar one? Could they share their story, challenges and triumphs with them?

You can also check out our role models hub, which is filled with STEM pros working in everything from artificial intelligence and renewable energy, to law, sport, fashion and the arts. We also chat to brilliant role models in our podcast, The Buzz About STEM, who also give career advice to parents of high schoolers and talk about the benefits of getting into STEM.

Your child keeps talking about taking a gap year after school, but you’re not sure?

Jumping straight into uni or TAFE isn’t the only way to kickstart life after Year 12.

Narelle Lemon, Professor in Education at Swinburne University of Technology, talks through how gap years can be a form of self-care, how to set one up, and reassures you that students taking a gap year are just as likely to complete their degree within six years than students who do not – if that’s something you’re concerned about.

You can read her thoughts and findings on gap years here.

Head on over to the Careers with STEM Parent Portal for even more handy tips and tricks, and don’t forget to sign up for our parents e-newsletter!

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