Help for parents and carers

When it comes to making career decisions, you're one of the first people your child will turn to for help. We'll show you how to use My World of Work with your child, to spark ideas for their career and explore the routes they could take. So, you'll feel confident in supporting them to make important decisions.

Finding the right career

How My World of Work can help

We've designed My World of Work to make it easy for your child to explore, and find out about, careers that might suit them. It helps them to build career management skills, so that they can make the best decisions about what's right for them.

This guide introduces you to some of the features of the site, and how you can use them with your child.

Starting an account will help your child make the most of My World of Work. You can support your child as they complete the tools and sections in their account. 

Each element works with the information in My career options, to show your child jobs, Modern Apprenticeships, and industries that suit them.

About me

About me is an easy tool to get them started. It relates interests to different jobs, to help them find a career they'll really enjoy.

You can use the What are my interests? section along with this tool


Strengths helps your child recognise things they have a natural flair for. Playing to their strengths ultimately helps them choose a fulfilling career where they can excel.

To find out more about Strengths, you could read the What are my strengths? section with your child


Skills lets your child select their skills and find out how they relate to jobs.

Use the What are my skills? section with your child to talk through how they build and develop their skills

Learning about jobs, skills in demand and the world of work

My career options lets your child start exploring the world of work. This is the part of the site where you'll find information about how to get in to different jobs, what skills are involved, and where the opportunities of the future will be. 

There are two ways to use the search on My career options. First, your child can start completing their My World of Work account and get career suggestions based on their results.

Or, they can simply start searching. So, if your child is interested in being a police officer, a dental nurse, an engineer, a forensic scientist – they can use the search box and find relevant content.

Whichever way they access it, they'll find detailed information about careers.

  • Our job profiles contain all the information your child needs to start exploring different jobs. From the latest salary information to the qualifications and skills needed for the job, vacancies, volunteering opportunities and related careers
  • Industries show what careers are linked to Scotland's growth industries. Your child can find out the key facts, see where the jobs will be, keep up with the latest news, find vacancies and Modern Apprenticeship opportunities
  • Types of Modern Apprenticeships help you child discover new routes into the world of work. There are more than 80 types of Modern Apprenticeship in all sorts of industries

Our careers service in schools

My World of Work is just part of the support your child can access through Skills Development Scotland (SDS).

Our professionally qualified careers advisers offer career information, advice and guidance (CIAG) in every state secondary school in Scotland.

Our comprehensive service helps your child to develop their career management skills and can include:

  • Intensive one-to-one career guidance through a coaching approach
  • Group sessions
  • Drop-in clinics
  • Availability at school events like parents’ evenings

And we’re here to help you too. You can: 

  • Talk to your child’s school careers adviser at parents’ nights or school events
  • Attend a subject choice one-to-one with your child and their careers adviser

Have a look at the help on offer at each stage.

After school

Once they've left school, your child can continue to access support from SDS advisers through our careers centres across the country. They can drop in for free, impartial advice, or book an appointment.

Subject choices

Subject choices are an important decision for your child. They have an impact on what courses they can study at college or university. They can also affect what careers are open to them when they leave school. 

Sometime between October and March, your child will pick subjects for their Nationals or Highers. But it's a good idea to start thinking about them earlier, to help support your child in the best way possible.

For parents, with recent changes to the curriculum, one of the first challenges is understanding how these qualifications compare to the ones they may be more familiar with. Luckily, the SCQF has put together a guide on this. You can also watch the video, which we produced with SQA, to explain some of the differences.

To help your child prepare for their choice, you could look through the guidance here on My World of Work on Choosing my subjects. This includes our new subject choices tool. This lets them find out which jobs their subjects could lead to.

We've also developed the guide below for parents, which gives you some pointers on how to support them through the process.

Find out more about career education

If you want to understand more about how career education is delivered to your child, these resources could help.

A world of possibilities

The National Parent Forum of Scotland leaflet, Career Education: A world of possibilities, gives more detail on when and how your child will learn about careers throughout their education.

The Career Education Standard (3-18)

The Career Education Standard sets out what teachers, parents and Skills Development Scotland can do to help young people understand the link between their lives and the world of work.

It's aimed at helping young people to be better prepared for work.

Within the standard, there are expectations about what you can do as a parent or carer to support what's happening in school. 

Find out more on the Education Scotland website or download the Career Education Standard document.

The Career Education Standard was developed by Education Scotland and key partners including Skills Development Scotland.

Career conversations with your child

When it comes to talking to your child about their future career, it can be tricky.

To help make these conversations easier we’ve produced a guide with the National Parent Forum of Scotland, Career conversations in a nutshell.

You’ll find advice from careers advisers on how to tackle some challenging discussions with your child such as:

  • ‘I want to be a ....’
  • ‘I’m only interested in ...’
  • ‘I have no idea what I want to do’
  • ‘Where can I get advice and help?’

To help with these conversations, there's a guide with more information on the three different types of apprenticeship, Foundation, Modern and Graduate Level

There’s also a guide on careers in digital technology, showcasing the different types of jobs and opportunities in this fast-paced industry, and a guide on creative skills, showing how creativitiy enhances enterprise and employability skills. 

The guides will help you have constructive career conversations with your child. 

College and university open days

Take a look at where they'll be going with our guide to college and university open days. 



Apprenticeships give your child the chance to get hands-on experience with an employer, and work towards a qualification at the same time. 

They'll learn by doing and pick up valuable employability skills, like time management and team working, too. 

There are different kinds of apprenticeship in Scotland, Foundation Apprenticeships, Modern Apprenticeships and Graduate Level Apprenticeships.

Whether your child is still in school or looking at their options once they leave, an apprenticeship could be for them. 

Applying for jobs

Taking the first step onto the career ladder can be difficult. Your child may come to you for advice. 

In the Getting a job section, your child will find advice on completing job application forms, cover letters and CVs, and guidance on interview techniques

They can also find out about aptitude tests, which are becoming an increasingly popular part of the recruitment process.

There are a couple of tools which you could look at together:

  • The CV builder in their account will help you both understand what information employers are looking for
  • My Interview lets them practice their interview skills and find out some good techniques for answering competency-based questions

We've also put together some expert advice just for parents on how to help them prepare for interviews, and complete application forms.


Whether they're still studying, or are leaving college or university, volunteering can give your child the chance to develop essential work skills, as well as helping a cause they care about. 

Long summer and winter holidays, and weekends, are good times to help out. And some programmes give young people experience during the working week. 

Whatever they decide to do, here are some of the benefits of giving up their free time:

  • Learn new skills. Volunteering helps young people develop work-based skills such as organisation, leadership, research and teamworking. They might even get a qualification from it
  • Build confidence. Trying something new, and achieving things, can be a big boost to confidence
  • Try out a career. Volunteering might give an insight to work in a particular field, which could help your child when deciding if a career is right for them
  • Make contacts. It's an excellent way for them to meet people they might not otherwise, and grow their network. These people could help with letting them know about job opportunities, or be a referee on their CV
  • Experience for their CV. Volunteering gives them real-life experience which could impress future employers

How My World of Work can help

Your child can find opportunities from Volunteer Scotland using the learn and train search. There's also much more information for them to explore on the volunteering page.

There are some restrictions on what your child can do, when. For example, under 14s can't work for a profit-making organisation, even if they're unpaid. Check Your rights in work for more information on this.


If your child is starting a course, or other learning, they could be entitled to funding to help them with the costs. 

To help you - and them - understand what's available, we've brought together information on the funding available in Scotland. This includes details on Skills Development Scotland Individual Training Accounts.

The SAAS website also has a lot of helpful guides on what is available, and when.

Another tip is to check in with the college or university that your child hopes to attend. Often, they'll have information on their website, or may be able to answer questions at open days and information evenings.

Applying for courses

Whatever your child decides to do after leaving school, it helps if you understand the application process.

We've developed a guide for them (and you!) on applying for college and university. This includes information on UCAS, personal statements, application forms and college interviews.

You might also find this UCAS guide for parents and guardians useful if your child is applying to university.

If your child is applying to study law, medicine or dentistry, there are aptitude tests they'll have to sit. You can find out about some of these at:

  • UKCAT – the UK Clinical Aptitude Test
  • LNAT – the Law National Aptitude Test

Leaving school – what next?

Getting ready to leave school can be a tricky time. There are lot of options open to your child – but what will work best for them? As a parent or carer, it helps to understand what those options are, so that you can support them in their decision.

We've developed a guide for you, along with information on preparing for the transition if your child has additional support needs.


Exam stress

If you're supporting your child through their exams, it can be difficult to know what to say.

This handy guide from SQA lets you know what to expect during the exam period, and includes timetables and past papers so that you can understand each step of the process. 

Once the exams are over, the advisors on our Exam Results Helpline, which runs every year on the same day their results arrive, can help.

We've also developed the guide below for parents and carers on helping on results day.