On November 2, 2016, all students in Grade 9, Senior 1 (Manitoba), and Secondary III (Quebec) across Canada will spend the day at the workplace of a parent, relative, friend, or volunteer host. This is a signature program of The Learning Partnership (thelearningpartnership.ca), a national charitable organization dedicated to supporting, promoting, and advancing public education in Canada. The program is called, “Take Our Kids To Work” (thelearningpartnership.ca/TOKW), which has been running for 22 years, and has involved over 250,000 students and 75,000 businesses annually in a day of valuable career exploration and learning about the skills required in the world of work.
I really wish that they had this program in place back when I was in high school! It would have answered a lot of questions that I had back then about careers that I thought I was interested in pursuing. It would have saved me a lot of headaches and missteps in terms of what post-secondary programs to study and what jobs to apply for. Back in the mid-1980’s, all we had were guidance counsellors that could only provide outline information and resources about careers. The rest was pretty much up to us, the students, to figure things out.
Nothing is more valuable than being able to experience, first-hand, a day at the job. I will be taking my 14-year-old son in Grade 9 to my office to show him what my job as a self-storage facility manager entails. I will be able to give him introductory knowledge of how to deal with the general public, some basic inventory control, and exposure to how computers figure very heavily in the daily operation of the business. Of course, he’ll also be exposed to traditional tasks, such as cleaning and minor maintenance! The day will be a combination of sitting and walking, as well as driving to the bank to make the day’s deposit.
The closest we ever came to having this sort of experience in my high school days was if you were involved in a co-op job for an entire semester. This was fine if you were certain of your career path, since you had to commit an entire semester to the job. This would have been better if the work terms were shorter and you had the flexibility to choose multiple jobs in different fields. As of right now, my son seems to have a general interest in teaching at the elementary level, but I would like to see him get exposure to other fields before he finalizes his career path. A day at the job is definitely one way to do that! I hope that many of you other parents out there are planning to take advantage of this great program. It should be a lot of fun!
– Todd Midgley
Electrical Engineering Technician ’91