Karen Lomas
January 14, 2020

Career Coaching in Year 11.

When I ask a student what career coaching they receive(d) in year 11, at school, I’m often met with a blank stare. Year 11 is very often a ‘forgotten’ year level from the point of view of school-based career coaching and so they have nothing to tell me. Even if they completed some sort of career assessment in year 9 or 10, the resulting report might go home in the school bag and is forgotten about.

Year 11 is an essential year for secondary school-age students. For example, is your year 11 child:

  • showing a lagging interest in their subjects and getting poorer grades than in previous years?
  • know that they could be attending career events that can help them to understand what might be of interest and available to them?
  • aware 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 break and travel overseas after year 12, and appreciate that this needs good planning well ahead of time?
  • able to (by nationality) or hoping to study overseas and therefore understand that they will need to write a personal statement as part of some international application processes?

These are some of the many considerations for a student and it is my belief that it is too late to be dealing with this in year 12. 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. Otherwise year 12 can become stressful and overwhelming. 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. It is not uncommon for them to then get sick at this time, and these are things we need to prevent for them to have an enjoyable experience and a happy outcome. 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.

So here is my suggestion for a career coaching plan for year 11s:

Term 1, week 7/8

  •  Check-in regarding their subjects, their grades and any issues/distractions and work on any development tasks eg Time Management/Resume Writing.
  • Talk about their part-time employment, hobbies, volunteering activities, Work Experience.
  •  Review their career assessment eg Morrisby Online, Career Fast Track, or other.
  • Revisit or create a Career Action Plan.

Term 2, mid/late

  • Check progress and discuss ‘problem’ subjects so as to devise practical solutions.
  • Check progress with action points on their Career Action Plan.
  • Work through activities together according to career development needs.

Term 3, week 4/5

  • Check in regarding subject changes for year 12. Discuss options available.
  • Review any events/activities they have attended and go through courses of interest paying particular attention to admissions requirements, application dates and other course admission requirements.
  • Commence/continue their exploration of courses using the relevant application centres, such as VTAC.
  • Revise/update Career Action Plan.

Term 4, week 7/8

  • Discuss their subjects for year 12.
  • Clarify relevant higher education or employment trainee-ship/apprenticeship application processes and work through any complex tasks/issues eg resume writing/creating a folio.
  • Review and revise what specific processes are relevant to their application in year 12, such as SEAs and Scholarships.

Career Coaching is just like 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. This is why I recommend 3 or 4 career coaching sessions across the academic year. Career coaching gives a year 11 student discipline and helps them to see that looking into careers is another regular activity that they should ideally plot into their schedule.

One-On-One Career Coaching

The skills development must also be owned by your child. They have to take responsibility for their decisions and the activities required of them to make things happen. This is why I see my young clients one-on-one and without their parents. Aside of special circumstances this is part of my model for career coaching and it means that the student concentrates and is asked to agree to their Career Action Plan.

Year 11s are often assumed to be getting on with their school work and not really thinking about the next year or beyond. This is naive because they are surrounded by people asking them what they “want to do/be” and they’re already completing formal study programs. If you give your child a career coaching head-start in year 11 they will be really confident in year 12 and may have less need for direct support during that final year. Talk to me by using the contact sheet to find out more.

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