Exploring the World of Work

During Take Our Kids to Work Day kids can consider their future career.

Exploring the World of Work


When Scott ventured into his mom’s workplace – her own video production company – he didn’t know what to expect. But before he knew it, he was designing a brochure, laying out photos and text on the computer, and playing a starring role in an educational video about bullying. It was a great day, says Scott. “I learned how much work goes into creating a video and how some scenes have to be shot over and over to get the desired effect. I also saw how many different things my mother has to do in a day.”

And that’s the purpose of Take Our Kids to Work Day –“to familiarize young people with the world of work to help them to consider options for themselves,” says Veronica Lacey, CEO of the Learning Partnership, the organization behind the day. “The feedback we get from the students is that they all enjoy the day tremendously,” says Lacey. “They also say it’s interesting to see their parents in a different environment and understand what they do.”

The Learning Partnership is a non-profit organization that champions a strong public education system. Take Our Kids to Work Day has been running in Canada for 16 years now, with 250,000 Grade 9 students going to work with their parents or other adult every year. Grade 9 is the ideal time because kids are just choosing the electives that will be crucial to their future careers. This year’s Take Our Kids to Work Day takes place on Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010.

Preparing for the day

The Learning Partnership provides educational guides and forms for parents, teachers, and workplaces, to ensure that curriculum and health and safety objectives are met.

Teachers are encouraged to prepare students for their workplace visit in advance through classroom exercises. “Students learn about what an employer looks for in an employee, including skills, aptitudes, and education,” explains vice-principal Sandy Wallace. “They also develop relevant questions to ask while at the workplace about the skills they will need for their ‘dream job’.” After the event, the students are asked to write about their experiences.

When kids are at the workplace, “health and safety comes first,” says Lacey. “We ask all employers to start the day with a health and safety orientation.” Regulations are in place to ensure the health and safety of all employees and visitors to a workplace. Kids are not permitted on the floor of manufacturing facilities due to the presence of dangerous equipment. Some workplaces develop simulations for student visitors instead.

Teens love the experience

We asked some kids and a parent about their experience with last year’s Take Our Kids to Work Day. They all gave it the thumbs-up.

“Before I went to my mom’s workplace, I didn’t know exactly what she did,” admits Jordan. Jordan’s mom is a human resources manager at a municipality. “I saw how she lists the job openings and schedules the interviews for the positions in all of the departments. In the afternoon, she took me around to other departments to see other types of jobs.” Jordan’s favourite part? The waste treatment  

plant! “I liked seeing all of the processes for water filtration,” he explains.

Sarah loves cars, so she looked forward to visiting her father’s workplace, a centre that provides phone support to GM car dealerships across Canada. She spent half the day in her father’s office, listening as he answered phone inquiries about auto parts inventory, and learning to file reports. “I was really impressed with how much he knew about all of the different car parts and model years,” says Sarah.

An afternoon at GM’s head office gave Sarah insight into how a larger organization operates. It also gave her encouragement for her future career – to her delight, Sarah found “lots of women working there too.” Not surprisingly, one of Sarah’s electives this year is auto.

Ken Plumley, owner of a concrete construction company, says it’s good for kids to see how hard their parents work. All three of his children, two boys and a girl, have come to work with him on Take Our Kids to Work Day.

“Last year, my daughter Christa came with me,” he says. “She was pouring a concrete walkway at a day care centre, flattening it along the edges. The fun part for her was laying down stencils like big snakes, alligators and dragon flies.”

Determining their future

Wallace thinks that Take Our Kids to Work Day is a great opportunity for students to venture into the workplace with a parent or other adult who can “guide them as they consider their own choices for their future participation in the world of work.” If you’d like to find out more about Take Our Kids to Work Day, visit www.thelearningpartnership.ca.

Author: Joanne Culley

Joanne Culley is a writer and documentary producer with two sons; joanne.culley@sympatico.ca or www.joanneculleymediaproductions.com.

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