What kinds of work skills does my child need?

By Karen Lomas

Identifying work skills for your child is really important. Our children need solid skills to become employable, but deciding which skills to focus on can be difficult.

Types of skills your child can learn

There are two types:

  • Practical skills, such as being able to work a coffee machine.
  • Transferable skills, such as being dependable, reliable and punctual.

So when a child is showing an interest in a skill; maybe you are fixing the car, or planting some seedlings — let them help. This is a great way to start. After that, once your child is in secondary school, they can get formal skills training.

Focus on vocational training

Vocational training is the type of skills training that can make a big difference to your child’s employability, so give them that opportunity if it comes their way. This can be done at school, or after they have finished Year 12 (compulsory education).

Even if your child wants to study at a higher education level, in say a diploma or bachelor degree program, they might want to do a hands-on skills training course first, just to see whether they really do like that type or work and industry.

When you are looking for vocational skills training (VET courses) for your child, make sure you check that the course is really professional. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), published in 2017, Australia needs to improve its focus on basic skills throughout schooling and in post-secondary programs.

What this means is that students in Australia are not doing as well as some kids in other countries, when it comes to literacy, numeracy and the gaining of sound skills. So check the course details and make sure your child is getting all of this in his/her course, including an industry accreditation.

Karen is a career coach specialising in early career exploration with school-aged students. This article was republished with permission from the author.

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