The best Year 9 Options advice video I’ve seen

Isn’t even a video designed to show Year 9 students or their parents in the UK.



Narrated by Tony Botelho at the Career Services Unit at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia Canada, I think it brilliantly sums up the issues I have with the way a lot of parents and students believe they must frame their decisions when choosing Key Stage 4 options.

No matter how your school organises Key Stage 4 routes, students and parents will always want to make connections between the courses on offer and future employment destinations. They, as Tony says, want to define the “Preferred Career” to give their child a target which, in today’s complicated labour market is understandable. It must be comforting to hear that X leads to Y which will then make you definitely qualified to do Z and even more calming to be able to pass that information onto your son or daughter. Don’t stress, the route is clear.

Deep down though, we know this is a simplified version of the reality facing the majority of young people. We know through our own experiences and those of our peers that happenstance, networks and experience can hold much greater influence over a Career than a route map. At ages 13/14 most learners will have no clear idea of what their “target” is and even those who do, will their perception of their “target” match the reality of that profession (Hello CSI, you and me still need to have words). Many will still be 8 to 10 years of changeable teenage and young adult life away from taking those first, full-time steps into the work of work.

Shouldn’t we be braver when advising those youngsters and their parents by admitting the future ahead may be more complex? Shouldn’t we say it’s OK not to know your “target” or even to stop believing that you must have one? It’s OK to still be discovering, trying new experiences and then taking the time to reflect on those experiences. It’s OK to think about the courses you might take in terms of the experiences and opportunities they might offer whilst studying them rather than what the qualification outcome might lead to.

I think so and it’s a video I will try to use at parents information events in the future.



  1. I like this too…..for all the reasons you say. I also get inundated with the ‘x+y must = z’ line of questioning! I spend a lot of time with students trying to explain that not being able to say the name of a your chosen career is not the bad thing they think it is, as many students that can name the career get stuck later if they don’t get the grades, or find out the job is not what they thought as they hadn’t researched properly and that things are changing all time. Helpful to think of a career genre or ‘job family’ and your likes and dislikes, not focussing too much on the ‘what are you going to be when your grow up?’ question!

    1. I like the “genre” idea. I think there must be something in the way parents or teachers some times phrase the “what are you going to be when you grow up” questions that makes youngsters think “I’ve got to have an answer for this!” and feel like something of a failure if they don’t. Resources like this video will hopefully help reassure them that they’re not.

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