Career coaching and education for your Year 11 child

By Karen Lomas 

When it comes to school-based career coaching, Year 11 tends to be somewhat of a ‘forgotten’ year. Even if students complete some sort of career assessment in Year 9 or 10, the results are often forgotten about.  

Year 11s are often assumed to be getting on with their schoolwork and not really thinking about the years ahead. In reality, they are surrounded by people asking them what they ‘want to do/be’ and they’re already completing formal study programs.  

Career coaching in Year 11 gives the student discipline and helps them to see that looking into careers is another regular activity that they should ideally plot into their schedule. 

Why Year 11 is an important year for career education 

Giving your child a career coaching head-start in Year 11 will help them build confidence for Year 12 – they may even require less direct support during that final year. 

These are some of the many considerations a student needs to make, and it can be too late to be dealing with some of them in Year 12. Perhaps your Year 11 child is:

  • lagging interest in their subjects and getting poorer grades than previous years 

  • unaware that they could be attending career events that can help them to understand what might be of interest and available to them 

  • unaware that there are certain higher education courses for which the application process needs a portfolio going back potentially as far as Year 9 

  • interested in a career path in medicine, which requires them to sit an additional exam besides their school-based exams 

  • clear that there are courses that can be, perhaps should be applied for early in Year 12, and therefore researched thoroughly in Year 11 

  • involved in any volunteering or work experience that can populate their resume 

  • keen to have a gap year after Year 12, and appreciate that this needs good planning well ahead of time 

  • hoping to study overseas and therefore understand that they will need to write a personal statement as part of some international application processes 

By Year 12, a student needs to be confident of the application processes relevant to them, so that they can use their time most effectively for their studies. It is no wonder that many students in their senior years, especially in Years 11 and 12, become anxious when they lack support such as career coaching. When career coaching is in place and delivered at appropriate times across the year, school-age children, or young adults, can thrive knowing that they have a professional, impartial and experienced coach guiding them throughout. 


Career Coaching: Not unlike other forms of professional coaching 

My career coaching service as action focused and practical as well as being holistic and person-centred. I base my practice on sound career theories and this is what underpins my success. I feel that a plan is essential to your child’s outcomes in terms of career development, because coaching is a process. It takes time to develop career development skills, just in the same way that it takes time for a footy coach to develop the skills of a player.  

The skills development must also be owned by your child. They must take responsibility for their decisions and the activities required of them to make things happen, which is why I see my young clients one-on-one, without their parents.  


Karen is a career coach specialising in early career exploration with school-aged students. This article has been edited and republished with permission from the author. You can read the original here. 

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