Parents' toolkit

Ways to help your child choose the right training

As a parent it’s likely you’ll play a role in helping your child think about a job or career path and what training they might need to get there.

There are two stages typical to this decision-making:

  1. Deciding what kind of job or career to pursue.
  2. Deciding what kind of training or experience is needed.

Thinking about the right job

As they think about the job or career they’d like to pursue, encourage your child to consider questions like:

  • What are they interested in and feel they’re good at?
  • What’s important to them and what do they want to achieve in their life?
  • Do they already have a set idea or a few options they’re considering?
  • What research have they done, and what’s been talked about at school?

From there, you can start to find the information and advice you need to help them narrow their options and find the path that’s right for them.

Career advice

If your child is still at school, speak with their school careers adviser. Year level co-ordinators and subject teachers can also help. Bring up post-school options at parent-teacher nights. Ask questions like:

  • What is your child able to do based on the subjects they’ve chosen?
  • What resources does the school have to help students make career choices?
  • Can your child do any work experience to find out more about a career?
  • Are there any past students who are studying in the course your child is interested in?
  • Is it possible to talk with them or for your child to talk with them?
  • What are the usual closing dates for tertiary applications or entry to training courses, and are there any prerequisites?

If your child isn’t in school, they can still get advice from careers practitioners. For more information visit the Career Industry Council of Australia. When you are looking for an independent careers practitioner, it’s a good idea to go with one who is registered with this council.

Work experience

Work experience isn’t just for Year 10 students. Talk to your child’s year level coordinator or careers adviser, or use your own networks to arrange this. If these options aren’t available, talk directly to a local business in your child’s chosen industry. Many businesses are willing to take on a work experience student, especially if it’s just for a few days.

Research different jobs

Use the Victorian Skills Gateway to search for information about different occupations. You’ll find descriptions of different occupations, information about job prospects in Victoria, average salaries, case studies and more. As well as the information available on this website, there are lots of other career resources available online. Here are a few: 

myfuture – an Australian Government website containing personal information and decision making tools to help make career choices.

The Job Guide – an in-depth look at approximately 1500 occupations, specialisations and alternative job names, their education and training pathways, with useful information about how to work out suitable occupations based on interests and abilities. 

Career Bullseye posters – these charts help young people identify occupations with the subjects studied at school, and indicate the level of training required. 

DET Information for parents – Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) overview about careers, pathways and transitions options. 

Victorian Careers Curriculum Framework – A DET online resource that provides support to careers practitioners, teachers, trainers, students and parents in preparing young people to make a successful transition into further education, training and employment. 

Youth Central – a website for young Victorians, from 12 to 25 years of age, with information and advice about jobs, study, travel, money and events.

Thinking about the right training

Once your child has an idea of the job or career they’d like, you can start looking at the training options.

On this website, you can look up an occupation and then find the courses that link to that job. Then, you can find out which RTOs offer that course or courses. You can use the RTO checklist to help decide which training provider is the right one for your child.


Most RTOs have annual open days, usually in July/August. Open days are a great way for you and your child to see where they’d be studying, speak to the teachers who’d be taking their classes and sometimes chat to current students as well.

Many RTOs also have information sessions on specific courses that take place throughout the year. Both parents and prospective students are welcome to attend. Once you’ve established your shortlist of RTOs, ask them about information sessions and go along to as many as you can. It’s a great way for your child to get a really good sense of what they can expect.