Parents Key to Career Guidance
comment  news 
17th Jun 2016

I had it covered, I definitely had it covered. The ball was rolling, quickly but with no real force towards me as I, the last line of defence, my team’s goalkeeper — Under 9’s Player’s Player of the year no less — fell onto my chubby knees and prepared to stop the ball and launch another breath-taking attack. I definitely had it covered, and yet what happened next deeply shocked my 9-year-old self. The ball squirted through my open arms, through my legs, and with a pace even a snail would probably deem too slow for their daily business, it nestled in the corner of our goal.

 

It was at that moment I realised I probably wasn’t going to be a professional footballer.

 


There was a time not so long ago in Britain where your job was dictated to you by what your parents did. Family businesses passed on from generation to generation. A butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker, all millstones around the prospective adult’s neck. Jobs for life they may be, but free choice and free will came at a minimum.

Thankfully, the 21st century has not kept all such archaic traditions, but it does pose problems of its own – particularly with regards to careers and job prospects for young adults. A parent’s desire for the best for their child does of course stretch to their future career – yet the desire to help shape and mould (and sometimes even restrain) the child’s ambition in order to prepare them for world of work is often all encompassing.

 

While I didn’t possess the dedication nor indeed the hand-eye coordination to become a professional goalkeeper – the possibility of writing about the game I still love to this day is very much still open to me and that is thanks to my parents beyond anyone else.

Too often though, parents are stymied in their support of their child – how can we expect parents who have done maybe one or two careers in their life to explain the length and breadth of jobs available to their kids in the 21st century?

 

Careers education in the UK currently is also inherently prejudiced — work experience for school age children is often prompted and organised by their parents. In a country where social mobility is at an all time low do we really want to create even more hurdles for children from lower socio-economic backgrounds?

Let’s provide all the information about the world of work as early as possible in a young adult’s development. Let’s provide answers to all those “Why’s? and How’s?” Let’s provide parents with the chance to engage their children in the outside world and learn themselves at the same time. Let’s not stop children from being as brilliant as they can be.

While doors to careers will inevitably close for a child, a parent’s role can be to open other more suited career paths for them. But this can’t be achieved if the information is not readily available to parents. A world where children are not limited to the careers of their parents or the adults in their life isn’t a utopian ideal. It can be a reality.