Most schools running the TY programme timetable in some work on careers.
One of the most valuable career activities is doing a Work Experience - it's an excellent opportunity to find out what its like to work in the real world, and decide whether you like (or hate) it!
Other popular activities include Career Projects, running a Mini Enterprise, completing a Career Investigation and going to a Careers Fair.
Each school organises their own unique TY programme and we encourage you to make the most of the time available.
A great place to start your exploration of careers is to browse through our pages on Career Sectors. Career Sectors are like families of jobs that relate to a particular activity - like medicine or building. Knowing a bit about the sector you are interested in can help you to narrow down your focus to a particular type of career.
In each of the Career Sectors we discuss what types of jobs there are, and list courses that provide qualifications for these industries and related jobs.
Top 5 things to do to find out about Careers
Let's think about it. The best way to find out about being a paramedic, for example, is to be one - not very realistic for a TY student, however. So what's next best? Probably working alongside one during their day to day activities - you would then get a good idea of what they do, the pressures they face, the type of workplace and so on. This you can do - its called work experience. This is top of the to-do list if you want to really find out about a particular job.
Obviously you can also get a good idea from watching TV and films - these can be quite graphic and convey some of the reality of the job. But, apart from documentaries, they tend to show a glossed up or exaggerated version of reality, not the real thing. Still, you can get a sense of a career from movies and TV programmes. It's quite likely that most of what you know about many jobs is from TV or films - which also means that unfortunately, you may have a not-very-accurate picture of the reality of these careers.
Watching videos of people talking about their career is more realistic than information from the TV and movies, with the exception of some documentaries. You get to hear directly from workers who are telling their story for the purpose of informing people what the career is like. This is number two on our list, and there are over 200 career videos on this site, and links to hundreds more from within our occupational database.
You could of course talk to someone who is a paramedic (or whatever career you are interested in). Ask them what its like. This is called an Interview and can be very useful if you can find someone to talk to in a career you are interested in. If you get the opportunity to talk to someone, be sure to have your questions prepared in advance. There are some things you might forget about, or you may get carried away by some of the details and not remember to ask about something important - like what sort of qualifications you might need!
We recommend you use whatever contacts you have to interview or talk to someone in a career you are interested in - your parents and relatives, your friends, their parents and relatives, your teachers etc etc. Most people will be very happy to tell you about what they do for a living and give you their advice - so don't be shy!
For some occupations you may not be able to access any of the above (work experience, career videos or career interviews). The next thing to try is searching Occupations in a database. These are specially designed collections of important information about hundreds of occupations. They will describe in detail what the job is like, what level of education or experience may be required and so on.
We recommend you search the database on this site (click on A-Z Occupations via the link below). The best way to search is by putting the name of the occupation in the search box, or by choosing one of the categories we provide. Oddly enough, using the A-Z list often misses out - as the title you are thinking of may be called something else in our database!
Our occupational database also links to jobs advertised online at the moment, so you can see what kind of real jobs are being advertised right now - along with the specific requirements asked for. We also link to several international occupational databases to give you a broader view of the job positions, and to hundreds of career videos related to the job.
Even if you do get a good understanding of a particular occupation from some the above sources, it's also a good idea to ask your parents / relatives / friends what they know. Older people tend to know a lot about many of the traditional occupations and may have really useful information to share with you.
When it comes to more modern occupations, however, they may be completly clueless. Not surprising really given that new jobs are being created almost daily to deal with the enormous changes that technology brings. We'll do our best to keep our database as up to date as possible to help you keep up with the times!