What if my teenager is considering leaving school early? One of the first career decisions your teenager will make will be whether or not to complete Year 12 or its equivalent. Research shows young people who study beyond Year 10 are more likely to find employment, are more likely to earn a higher salary and are more likely to achieve promotions and pay rises. However, some young people feel that senior high school is just not for them. This could be for a number of reasons. The student may experience learning difficulties, for example, or may struggle to cope with the competing demands of home, social life, and part-time work. Perhaps they are dealing with emotional problems. Factors like these can influence a young person’s ability to make an informed decision. As a parent or guardian, you may initially feel a sense of disbelief and helplessness as your child contemplates this option, however, you need to support them by discussing the implications of their choice on their future career. You can advise your teen about the viable option of staying at school part-time, while getting valuable work experience and undertaking vocational education, via a School-based Apprenticeship or Traineeship that will lead to a nationally recognised qualification. Many potential 'school drop-outs' who found that they didn't fit into the standard academic system, have excelled when they've had the opportunity to participate in a School-based Apprenticeship or Traineeship or other VET course whilst still at school. The opportunity to learn in a practical environment and get some work experience whilst still completing their schooling can make a huge difference for those that don't feel the traditional system is for them. It’s also important to ensure your teen is aware of the multitude of other education and training pathways available today. Even if they leave school early, they can opt to study at TAFE full time, or undergo a traineeship or apprenticeship under the Australian Apprenticeships program.