By Ken Edwards, Education Programme Lead, Skills Development Scotland
‘The most important supporters and the greatest influencers of children and young people’s learning and career choices are their parents or carers.
They help their children by encouraging them to think and talk about their strengths, skills and interests; to be open minded and ambitious when exploring learning and career pathways; to be well informed when making choices and to be resourceful and resilient in overcoming challenges. The support of parents has never been more important than now. The growth in technology and globalisation drive an ever more dynamic and competitive labour market, one for which we need to prepare all young people.
Fortunately, to help busy parents with their important role, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) provides a rich source of direct support and easily accessible information.
SDS has careers advisers providing free, impartial careers advice and guidance in every single state secondary school in Scotland.
In the last year that programme of support has been extended in line with expectations in the Career Education Standard.
The parents and carers of all young people in S2 or S3 who are making their first Senior Phase subject choices will be invited to join their child in the face-to-face meeting with a careers adviser. If that doesn’t suit, they can see the adviser on their own to discuss the options for their child, helping them to better support the young person as they make informed decisions about their future.
SDS careers advisers will attend school events for parents of children at every stage from P7/S1 transition to S6.
In some areas, the flexible partnership approach SDS takes with schools has led to the hosting of bespoke events for parents and carers.
Online, My World of Work has an area dedicated to helping parents and carers, accessible 24 hours a day for free.
Topics covered include how to support a child making subject choices, course choices, exploring options for after a child leaves school, managing exam stress, funding, applications and apprenticeships.
SDS also works with a range of partners who support parents and carers. Once again, we are working with the National Parent Forum Scotland to develop further ‘nutshell’ guides as a follow-up to Career Education: A World of Possibilities
Written by parents, for parents, the new ‘nutshells’ will look to support parents and carers to have productive career conversations with their children, cover creativity, enterprise and employability, apprenticeships and opportunities in the growing digital sector.
SDS is also in the second year of its partnership with the Scottish Parent Teacher Council to pilot Partnership Schools Scotland (PSS).
This project offers a model for school, family and community partnership.
Its uniquely Scottish approach is based on the work of the National Network of Partnership Schools developed and fine-tuned over almost 30 years in the USA.
PSS is progressing well with some 40 schools in five local authorities now involved and examples of interesting practice developing.
SDS is commited to continuing to work for and with parents to help them be the confident source of support their children need to be ambitious in successfully identifying and following their chosen learning and career paths.’
See the SDS interactive guide to careers services in schools