You are here on this page because you want to know how you can request and get advice on your son or daughter future career. Here below I am listing some sample request letters:
1. Inquiring how to make a Daughter a School Teacher:
19 PLUME ROAD,
DEAR MRS. WHITE,
I have been giving a lot of thought lately to Dorothy’s future. She is now sixteen, and I feel it is time to make up our minds what she is to do to earn a living. She thinks she would like school-teaching, and it strikes me as a very good choice. As you know the profession so intimately, I thought perhaps you would tell me if it is one you would recommend for Dorothy, and what steps I ought to take to secure her training. I am afraid it is troubling you a great deal, but I know you are interested in Dorothy, so I hope you will forgive me.
84 TRANMERE AVENUE,
DEAR MR. JACKSON,
I am delighted to be of any assistance to you in finding a suitable career for Dorothy, and I may say at once I think she has all the qualifications for a teacher. She is fond of children, bright, and strong, and will probably have no difficulty in passing her examinations. To any girl fitted for it, there is really no better profession. Among its advantages are good pay, good holidays, short hours, security of tenure, and pension, and, above all, it is womanly work. The training need not cost you a lot of money, as you can obtain grants and scholarships. The profession is, of course, more overcrowded than it used to be, and it is sometimes difficult to obtain a post for some months after the training is completed, but, when a post is obtained, a teacher does not easily become unemployed. A serious consideration is the ban recently placed upon married teachers by the London County Council and other bodies. Girls may well hesitate to spend five years in training for a profession which they are compelled to give up on marriage two or three years later.
As to the training, the first step is to decide whether Dorothy means to become a teacher in an Elementary or a Secondary school. As Dorothy has already matriculated, and has been educated at a Secondary school, she could qualify for work in a Secondary school, but that means four years at college, and then posts in Secondary schools are not easy to obtain.
The steps she would have to take are these:
As an Elementary School Teacher—Apply for a L.C.C. teaching scholarship, which would enable her to remain two years at school without fees, during which she could study for the Inter. Arts or Science exam. No teaching is done now before going to College. At ‘8 she will have to go to a Training College for two years, when she would work for the Board of Education Certificate, and, if she had passed the Inter, exam before entering, possibly a degree. A list of colleges, with fees, can be obtained from the Board of Education. Scholarships can usually be obtained from the L.C.C. to cover a large part of the fees.
As a Secondary School Teacher.—Dorothy would remain at school for two years and take either Inter. Arts or Science, but at iS she would have to go to college for four years. Three years are given to taking the final examination for a Science or Art degree, (usually an Honours degree), and the fourth year to obtaining the Teachers’ Diploma.
The salaries are now fixed by the Burnham scales, and vary according to districts. Elementary school teachers start at about £130 and rise to about £300 a year. Secondary school teachers get about a hundred a year more. Headmistresses, of course, get much bigger salaries.
Dorothy could become an Uncertificated Teacher or a teacher in a private school without much further education or training, but she certainly ought to get her certificate.
The best thing you can do is to see her Headmistress at once, and through her get in touch with the L.C.C. training department.
2. Advising Sending a Son to Sea:
84 PALEY ROAD,
DEAR MR. GILBERT,
If I were in your shoes, I should certainly have no hesitation in letting Jack have his wish and take up the sea as a career. Why not? He is a steady, robust lad, able to look after himself, and one who, I think you may be sure, will lead a roving life, whether you wish it or not.
As to how it can be done, there are two ways—apprentice him to one of the big shipping companies, who will require a premium, or let him go to a training ship. The White Star Line take apprentices and send them on four sailing voyages at a cost of about £200. Some of the smaller companies no doubt will take apprentices for much less, but the lad may have rather a rough time.
In your case I should send Jack to either the Conway training ship at Birkenhead, or the Worcester at Greenhithe. The first takes boys from 12 to 16, and the second boys from 11.5 to 15. The cost is about £… a year, and the course lasts for two years.
At 17, if he has been at sea four years, he can take the Second Mate’s certificate, at 19 the First Mate’s, and at 21 the Master’s. When he has had sufficient experience he should have no difficulty in getting a ship. The life, of course, is only suitable to certain lads, but I think Jack is one of them.
3. Applying for a Clerkship in a Bank for Daughter:
48 WHITING LANE,
DEAR MR. JENKINS,
Do you think you could help me in any way to get my daughter Elsie into your Bank? I know you employ a good many girls, and I am anxious to get her placed as soon as possible. She is i was educated at the High School for Girls, and obtained the General Schools Certificate. She also knows shorthand and typing. If you can help me in any way, or give me any advice as to placing Elsie, I shall be very grateful.
M. S. TAYLOR.
Reply from Bank Manager:
DEAR MR. TAYLOR,
I am afraid this is not a very propitious time for trying to get your daughter into the Bank. We already have a long waiting list, and the Banks generally are decreasing their number of women employees in favour of men. However, I will certainly send your application along to Headquarters with a strong recommendation. She is the right age and has the necessary qualifications. She should be able to type 50 words a minute and write shorthand at 120. She would have to pass a medical examination and our own Entrance examination, but, as she has already got the General Schools Certificate, she will not find that difficult. The salary commences at £65 a year and increases by £10 a year.
I think you would be wise to enter your daughter’s name for other Banks, if you can get introductions, and also for any of the large firms like Insurance companies, where the conditions of employment are very similar. Indeed many of the posts to be obtained in private business firms are much better paid than work in a Bank.
If your daughter has learned her shorthand and typing at one of the well-known commercial schools, as I presume she has, why not let them find her a post? If she can add fluent proficiency in a foreign language to her qualifications, say Spanish, she should, after a few years’ experience, be able to command a salary of three or four pounds a week. Banks are safe, and genteel, and usually comfort able, but private business gives many more opportunities.
4. Advising on a Boy becoming an Engineer
242 THORPE PARK,
DEAR MR. WHITE,
Your question, “How can you make your son an engineer? “is so vague that it is very difficult to answer satisfactorily. The word “engineer” covers a wide range of workers. A lad can become an engineer by becoming an apprentice to an engineering firm, and can choose the particular branch he likes—electrical, motor, marine, &c. He will have to serve three or five years at a nominal wage, and then will become a fitter or mechanic, able to earn, when he can obtain work, wages from £3 to £6 a week, according to his work and experience. Mechanics who have been able to take up a special branch of delicate machinery, like printing machinery, for instance, often command high wages for their expert ability. Then there is promotion to foremen and work-managers at substantial salaries for the successful men, and also opportunities of going abroad.
Such engineers, of course, are workmen, and probably you want your son to take it up as a profession. If he has been to a secondary or public school, he should study at one of the engineering colleges attached to any of the Universities. In London he can make his choice from East London College, Engineering School.
Imperial College of Science and Technology.
Engineering Schools of University College,Gower St., W.C.
King’s College,Strand, W.C.
Faraday College,Southampton Row, W.C.
City and Guilds College, South Kensington.
He will also have to spend two years or more as an apprentice in engineering works, either before or after his college training—preferably before. He will then be qualified for all manner of good posts in engineering and contracting firms in all parts of the world, but he may not find it easy to obtain one without influence.
If you care to write me again a little more fully, perhaps I can give you rather more detailed information.
5. Advising on Making a Daughter a Nurse
DEAR MRS. ALLEN,
Whether it is wise for you to let your daughter train as a nurse depends on one thing mainly—if she is really attracted to the work for the work’s sake. If she isn’t she certainly should not do it, for the work is hard and trying, and the monetary rewards are very inadequate. She would have to be physically very fit.
How she would have to start is as a probationer at a Hospital, and she should apply to the Secretary for particulars. She would have to be twenty-three to enter a General Hospital, and twenty a Children’s Hospital. She would be a probationer for three years and would have to do a lot of hard, manual work, as well as attend lectures and classes. She would get a nominal salary—not more than £25 a year, and all found.
After her training she would be able to take up private work, when her earnings would vary immensely, and might be £3 a week, or work in connection with a nursing institution, when she would earn less, or remain at a Hospital. Then she would earn about £so a year as a nurse, £100 if she became a Sister, and £200 or more if she became a Matron, with all found in each case.
Perhaps this letter sounds very discouraging, but if your daughter really wants to do the work it won’t deter her. I ought to add, perhaps, that the great majority of girls who do train as nurses—indeed, nearly all—love the work. If your daughter cares to come to see me, I will show her round the hospital and let her see what her life would be like if she were on the staff.
With kind regards,
6. Advising on Making a Son a Journalist
84 TYRE LANE,
MY DEAR FELLOWES,
You ask me how you can set to work to make your son a journalist. At first I was going to send you my usual reply to this question—” Don’t I” But on second thoughts, as I reflected that you had probably given the matter full consideration, I decided to add a few particulars.
First, don’t think because a boy has an inclination and a certain facility for writing he is a born journalist. He probably isn’t Many journalists don’t have to write at all—they record what other people say, or else correct and alter what other people have written. Those who do earn their living by writing are mostly not journalists, and as a rule don’t earn a living by writing at all— they’ve usually taken the precaution to find some other mode of livelihood, to which they add by writing.
However, possibly you know all this, and, if you’re still determined to launch your boy on the perilous paths, the only thing to do is to find some editor who will be willing to take him on as a junior. Sometimes a lad is articled to an editor for a term of years at a small salary (which, as a rule, you have to find first in the form of a premium), but this is by no means essential, if you can find an office that will take him without. The more important the paper the better of course, but you won’t find it easy without influence. I will keep my eye open for you, and let you know if I hear of an opening. There is no chance at all on the London dailies. Your only hope is the suburban or provincial weeklies, which would give a good training.
After about three years as a junior, or at the end of his apprenticeship, if he developed his shorthand to verbatim speed, he should be able to obtain a post as a reporter, with a salary ranging from £4 4s. in the provinces to £9 9s. in London—according to the standing of the paper; or as a sub-editor, with a salary ranging from £5 5s. to £15 15S. Later he may develop into a special correspondent, leader-writer, or editor, with a salary of anything between £250 and £5,000 a year.
The boy should, of course, have a good general education, good appearance, be alert and quick. A knowledge of foreign languages would be a great asset to him.
In conclusion, let me get back to the warning note— the work is hard, if interesting, the hours irregular, night work frequent, and, worst of all, there is never anything approaching security of tenure, while a journalist’s career is apt to end in middle life. After that he often becomes a “writer,” earning occasional guineas.
7. Advising on Emigration
28 THE DELL,
DEAR MRS. JONES,
I am sorry you are feeling so worried about your boy and girl, and I shall be delighted if I can be of any assistance to you.
I am afraid emigration is not the panacea for all ills that some people think it. There is one class of workers who are always wanted—men for agricultural work and girls for domestic work. If your son and daughter were fitted and willing to do this class of work, all you need do is to apply to the Commissioners in London for Australia,Canada,South Africa, or New Zealand, and they would make the matter easy for you. The life would be hard, but as your son would have some capital he could look forward to running his own farmstead in due course— and to many men that is a great attraction. Your daughter would find domestic work quite different from what it is in England. It would be hard, but she would always be treated as one of the family, and she would almost certainly marry. Possibly, however, the life of a farmer’s wife doesn’t appeal to her.
There are other ways of emigrating. Tea-planting in Ceylon offers opportunities to young men who have been well-educated and have some capital. Rubber-planting in Malay, coffee-growing in Kenya, fruit-growing in the Transvaal all offer openings, but as a rule capital is required.
If you have, say, £5,000 which you could spare to establish a home in the colonies, you might for that be able to buy an estate, which your son and daughter could be trained to run.
If you are really thinking seriously of it, I should advise you to call at the London offices of the agents or commissioners for the various colonies. You can get the addresses from the Directory, and you may be sure of receiving courteous attention.
I think you will be wise to go thoroughly into the matter. Many people turn to emigration for no other reason than a mere sense of restlessness or vague discontent. With them it is anything for a change, although it is obvious that changes can be for the worse as well as for the better. On the other hand, people who might emigrate with advantage fail to do because of a conservative attachment to old ways and places and a nervous dislike of anything new. I think it is most probable that the colonies hold a much better future for your young people than the old country, and it is very wise and unselfish of you to be willing to make some sacrifice to give them the better opportunity.