Parents have a key role to play in the choice of occupation

The career fair "parentum online" is directed at young people looking for a training position or a university place. Parents however are encouraged to accompany them as they make their way around the virtual fair.

For parents, their children's choice of occupation is very often one of the final major tasks they face before their offspring fly the nest. Parents want to support their children in this important decision. This is shown among other things in the Allensbach Study "School - and then?" [Schule – und dann?]. 61 per cent of parents questioned are certain that it is important to be involved. 31 per cent get involved if the child asks for help. Only 3 percent would not get involved at all.

Parental influence increasing

From the point of view of young people, parents also remain the most important source of information in the process of selecting an occupation - even ahead of teachers, friends or the media. This was stated by 83 per cent of pupils in the National Education Panel (NEPS). This has more than 60,000 participants and is the largest long-term study in Germany. Other studies indicate that the influence of parents is actually increasing from year to year.

However, choosing the right course of study for your son or daughter from the 330 training occupations and 19,000 courses of study is not easy. Then there are the requirements, which have changed considerably over the last 30 to 40 years. The recent study entitled "The activation potential of parents in the process of career guidance" by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training found that the majority of parents are simply insufficiently informed - both as regards the broad range of options as well as regarding the permeability provided by the German VET system and the education system.

Parents understand the strengths and weaknesses of their children

Parents ask themselves how much they can help and how much help is actually reasonable. Parents are valuable helpers in this task because they understand the strengths and weaknesses of their children. This is stated by both parents and children in the study by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training. Overall young people are positive in their assessment of the support from their mother or father.

Problems due to differences of opinion occur more frequently from the children's perspective than from that of the parents. Apparently, parents can indeed be annoying at times.

What is required therefore seems to be a healthy level of support. Young people do not want to be left alone. When needed, they want to be able to call on knowledge, experience and emotional support. "Help me to help myself" is the guiding principle of educationalist Maria Montessoris. This principle is often applied in relation to young children and may also be useful for the final major parental task before the children fly the nest.

The parentum digital fair does not just help young people become familiar with the appropriate pathways for training study. The exhibitors are also ready to respond to questions from parents. Those young people and parents who are interested will find the fair homepage via the web address Here they conduct live video discussions with the advisers of 35 participating training companies, trade and technical schools and universities. 

Guidance is provided according to individual requirements on training, dual study courses and degrees, placements, the voluntary social year in Germany or the application requirements. Participation is free for attendees. No download is necessary.

Source: (website of the German newspaper Gmünder Tagespost), revised by iMOVE, December 2020