You might’ve been thinking about what you want out of your career for a while. At some point, you’ll want to discuss your plans with your parents, or maybe even a teacher, especially if you want their advice or support.

Yet, this isn’t always easy – particularly if you’re considering a path that they might not have thought of at first, like an apprenticeship!

The world of work has changed a lot since they were probably starting out, but at the end of the day, the adults in your life just want you to be happy and succeed. Most of the time, the confusion comes from them not knowing much about the path you’ve chosen.

This blog post aims to help you navigate these difficult conversations and help show the adults in your life that yes, you know what you’re talking about! So, we’ve put together a few tips to support you in your conversations about your career.

First, know what you want to get out of the conversation

You want to approach the conversation with a clear end goal in mind. What do you want out of the talk? Is there anything you want your parents to do?

This could be anything from just wanting to discuss your plans without being offered advice to simply asking that they support you in your decisions and give you a few words of encouragement. Knowing what your goal is can help you say what you need when you ask to talk. For instance:

“I’ve decided I want to pursue an apprenticeship; can I tell you what’s involved before you ask any questions?”

Figure out who it is you want to talk to

You may want to think about this in stages if you need to talk to more than one adult. If you want advice from a teacher or careers adviser, that’s a great first step. They might be able to offer you some guidance about your specific career options that can reassure the other adults in your life that you might not have considered.

From talking to parents, we know they aren’t always the most knowledgeable about apprenticeships, so a careers adviser might be able to give you a great starting point to go from in approaching the conversation.

If you’re a little worried about a negative reaction, like if your parents expected you to go to uni but you know this isn’t the right option for you, you could discuss your choices with another adult first. This parent or family member can support you when you speak to them together or just have them sit in on the talk.

Research – know more than they do!

When discussing something as important as your future career choices, it’s good to be prepared, especially when you’re talking to your parents about it! Do some research on your chosen path, it’s important to consider any concerns the adults in your life might have and cover these areas so you’re ready to argue for your choices in a discussion.

This could include some knowledge about what sort of qualification might be involved in your apprenticeship, the experience you’ll gain through working, your potential wage, or what options you might have once you complete your course. Address these immediately to ease their worry.

Talk so they listen

  • Choose the right time. Pick a moment you know everyone can concentrate on what you’re saying. Don’t try to start a conversation when they’re busy as they might not be wanting to listen.
  • Take the right tone. Try to sound enthusiastic! This shouldn’t be too difficult if you’re discussing something you’re interested in, but it might make them more likely to consider your point of view.
  • Be clear and direct. Since you’ve already done some research, this should be easy! Consider the questions they might ask and find the answers. You won’t need every detail, but this will make you look prepared and that you’re taking the matter seriously.

Consider their point of view (even if you don’t follow it)

Just as you want the adults in your life to hear you, you should try and hear what they have to say. Hopefully, it’s encouraging, but they might have a few concerns. If you listen with an open mind, you might even find some of their points are valid or provide them with some info to stop them from worrying.

It’s pretty accurate to say that the nature of work has changed quite a lot from what they experienced when they started out – it was probably expected they keep to a similar line of work throughout their career. Then again, you’ll probably have a few occupations. It may be beneficial to approach the conversation based on the skills you’ll develop and how these apply to a few different roles to help them understand how this has changed.

Research more together

You know your stuff, but they might not! Take time to work over concerns they have together. You never know, you might think of things from a new perspective that could help if you encounter any obstacles. Use resources, like those on GetMyFirstJob to get you started on this.

Maybe you didn’t think about something that they have worries about, like will you have to move to pursue your apprenticeship? They could be concerned about the learning involved; some parents don’t know that the qualification you receive in an apprenticeship is the same as the one you’d get in a traditional setting such as a college or university. These are important to cover so you’re all on the same page!

It’s good to go over all of these aspects together so everyone understands what’s involved. However, we’re sure once the adults in your life know what’s involved that they’ll be happy to support you in your decision of pursuing an apprenticeship!

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