Parents & carers

Help your child explore career ideas and plan their next steps.

How to help your child

Talking with your child about careers is one of the best ways to help. Encourage your child to explore ideas and find out about different pathways.

It also really helps if you understand the different options open to you child. Young people face a very different set of choices and challenges from a generation ago, so it’s worth getting to grips with the options today. Exploring this site is a good place to start but you can ask about careers at school parents or options evenings.

All schools and colleges in Greater Manchester have a careers leader who is in charge of the careers programme. Some schools and colleges will also have impartial careers advisers who offer information, advice and guidance for students from Year 8 onwards. Look on your child’s school or college website for more details and to see how they can help.

Helping your child get the most from this site

Encourage your child to explore this site.

The Top 5 Sectors are a good place to start. Have a look together at the example careers and where future jobs will be.

The World of Work and Apprenticeships might be the next stop after looking at the different sectors.

Visit the Activities page to see how your child can build key skills and help boost their future applications. The Events page is updated with helpful and interesting careers events happening in Greater Manchester.

For more tips and links see the FAQs below. You can also sign up for the Careermag for Parents that covers all the different pathways your child could choose.

Parents FAQs

Young Minds charity have loads of advice here about having difficult conversations and helping your child manage anxiety or any other struggle.

They also have a helpline: 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday 9.30am – 4pm, free for mobiles and landlines).

Encourage your child to keep an open mind, discover their strengths and what motivates them.

Ask your child what they enjoy in and out of school. Think about subjects, ways of working and hobbies and interests.

Understand the options available to your child and the process for each route. It’s also worth looking ahead to give you and your child time to explore the options open to them.

Support your child in attending open events for local colleges, training providers and universities.

Encourage them to consider volunteering and work experience, work placements and work shadowing opportunities.

GOV.UK lists details of the 16-19 Busary Fund and Advanced Learner Loans.

Encourage your child to look ahead and think about their future pathways and career interests as choices now can affect future options.

Attend any parent/carer evenings and information events at your child’s school to find out more about what GCSE choices the school offers.

Encourage your child to consider their own subject interests, subject strengths and ways they enjoy learning.

All young people are required to continue learning or training until they are 18.

There are different options available:

Full time education – this includes studying A Level or BTEC qualifications. T Levels are a new qualification which will be introduced for students starting college in September 2020.

Training – this includes apprenticeships and traineeships, and part-employment or volunteering plus part-time study for an accredited qualification.

Take a look at our Apprenticeship section for more information.

Encouraging your child to develop transferable skills is a great way to boost their future applications.

Trying new things or following interests and hobbies can also help them discover possible career routes.

See the Activities section for details of activities and schemes your child can explore outside the classroom.

You can speak to the careers leader at your child’s school or college.

If there is a careers adviser at your child’s school or college, you can arrange to call them or make an appointment for further information, advice and guidance.

The National Careers Service also has some useful information and advice, and you can access their helpline or online webchat.

All schools and colleges have a careers programme to support your child from Year 7. This will include opportunities to:

  • Access and use labour market information (see question below)
  • Explore how their subjects link to the world of work
  • Meet and interact with a range of businesses, organisations and providers
  • Explore workplaces through a range of workplace visits, work shadowing and work experience placements
  • Access impartial information, advice and guidance about future pathways, study option and careers.

All schools and colleges must publish details of their careers education programme on their website. Please visit your child’s school/college website to see what your child will access.

Labour Market Information (LMI) is the term used to describe information about jobs and employment and can be used to help make careers decisions. LMI includes information such as job roles and descriptions, average salary ranges and whether demand for job types is expected to grow or decline.

Learn more about Greater Manchester’s labour market

The careers website explains how you can use LMI to help shape career decisions

There's more to GMACS than what you can see

Xello is a career management tool for young people and has been made available by GMCA, for free, to every state high school and college in Greater Manchester to use with their learners. Your child can build their own career profile based on interests, skills and talents. They'll have information at their fingertips to help make big decisions.

If you have a question about GMACS or Xello then you can contact us on

Callum, PR executive, MC2

After attending Pendleton College in Salford, the opportunity to earn a wage and continue learning at the same time attracted Callum to an apprenticeship.

Joel, HR apprentice, Bury Council

After a year studying computing, Joel realised university wasn’t for him and decided to take an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships across Greater Manchester

Discover different apprenticeship types, get application hints and tips, and apply for vacancies.

Explore & Apply

Build your career plan

Create your own online action plan to kickstart your career. Explore options, review goals and adapt to reflect your progress.

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