Being a parent is never easy, but it can be especially hard to see your child lose their way. It could be that they're struggling at school, find a traditional classroom environment challenging, or aren't applying themselves to their studies. Maybe they don't know what they want to do after school. Or maybe they do know — but you're worried they won't see their dreams come to reality.
At times like this, it's important to remember that everyone's path is different, and success means different things to different people. Your child's school career has been setting them up to see university entrance as the only real marker of success. But the world of work is changing, and thought leaders are starting to see that a uni degree isn't necessarily the best way for today's learners to get ahead.
So what can you do to help? Arm yourself with the options so you can help guide your teen on their own pathway to success.
Classrooms aren't for everyone. This isn't necessarily a failing on the part of your child, it just means that the traditional schooling system has been set up to see book learners succeed at the expense of hands-on learners. If this sounds like your child, they will more than likely find long university lectures and tutorials to be just as much of a drag as high school.
We see so many young people who have been disillusioned by the classroom really come into their own in our hands-on learning environment. Our approach is to treat all our students as adults. No uniforms, no lectures, and more freedom to learn their own way. Our teachers provide the kind of one-on-one care and direction that sees many young people start to feel like they're achieving for the first time, which is incredibly empowering and motivating.
When you're 17, deciding what to do with the rest of your life can be so overwhelming it becomes almost paralysing. Especially when they are being told stats like two thirds of existing jobs won't exist in the next fifteen years, or robots are replacing the human workforce.
A great option for those who aren't ready to commit to an industry is to do an entry-level certificate to test out an industry area. It's a low-risk option with fee-free training for year 12 graduates, and will keep your teen engaged and learning. Best case, they find a career they love and will be workplace ready in as little as six months. Worst case, they've developed a new set of skills that can be transferred to another industry, and they have a qualification to add to their resume.
Watching your teen work hard to achieve something only to miss the mark is so hard. It's important to remind them that a university entrance rank is not a measure of who they are as a person. Not making the grade can be devastating, but it's also an opportunity to build resilience and find a new path.
Getting into uni is definitely still on the table. We offer diploma-to-degree pathways that are, in many ways, better than a uni degree on its own. In most cases, studying a TAFE Queensland diploma will give your child a year of credit towards a related university degree, meaning they can start straight into the second year of their uni course. But they can also start working in their chosen industry with their diploma, getting a two-year head start on their friends who are still only a third of the way through their bachelor qualification.
There's no point trying to put a square peg in a round hole. If your teen is playing up at school, wagging, or not applying themselves to their studies, it's a pretty strong indication that they might be better off outside the classroom.
A great option for young people who are fed up with school is an apprenticeship or traineeship. They can start earning an income and channel their energy into something positive. There's a huge skills shortage in most trades areas, so employers are hungry for workers to train in their industry.
No matter how your teen is travelling, there's an option for them to find their own path to success. As a parent, knowing when to intervene and when to step back can feel like a minefield. Helping your child explore their options with an open mind can ease their anxiety about your expectations.
Explore our website for more information about how you can help your child find an outcome they can be proud of.