High-school students enjoy some on the job training

Aileen Ashman




/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;

Some 70 students from Ontario high schools got some on the job training during a visit to York University early last month.

The students were at York University as part of Take Our Kids to Work Day, an annual event held each November that is organized by the Learning Partnership to encourage Grade Nine students to accompany their parents to work for a full day of learning. At York University, the event is Grade nine students enjoying a pizza lunchorchestrated by the Office of the Vice-President Finance and Administration, and includes a tour of the University’s Keele campus and a hot pizza lunch.

Some 70 students from Ontario high schools got some on the job training during York University’s Take Our Kids to Work Day event

Aileen Ashman, assistant vice-president of human resources, offered an official York U welcome to the Grade Nine students. Ashman, who is an alumna of the University, spoke briefly about her own experiences at York University, both as a student and an employee. She also offered guidance and encouragement to the Grade Niners. “As you know, York supports this great initiative as it gives you a wonderful opportunity to not only see and learn about your parents and relatives work and careers, but it also introduces you to the University community,” said Ashman. “Who knows, you may find something that provokes a thought to a career that you might otherwise not have known!”

Aileen Ashman talking to Grade 9 studentsAileen Ashman addresses the Grade Nine students

“We really hope your look at York University will intrigue you, and that you will return to York in four or five years as part of the student community,” she said. “Many York grads, like me, return at some point to work for and with the University. Someday, this may be your son, daughter, niece or nephew standing here, participating in Take Our Kids to Work Day 2038 – maybe in 25 years or so – and beyond!”

“I think this is a great opportunity to bring a Grade Nine student to York University,” said Glenna Oleksinski, administrative officer in the Faculty of Health. Oleksinski brought her niece Mikaylla Blake-Oleksinski to work with her.

Glenna and MikayllaMikaylla Blake-Oleksinski and Glenna Oleksinski

“We were in the office early and I did a tour of York University,” said Mikaylla. “I have come here for summer camp, but I still learned a lot of things that I did not know about York University, such as there are 1,500 buses that come onto the campus each day.”

After lunch, Mikaylla said that she was heading back to work with her aunt and they would be conducting interviews and then go  on a visit to the School of Nursing.

A sleepy eyed Anthony Girardi was recovering from his 4:30am alarm. The son of John Girardi, recipient of the 2011 Phyllis Clark Campus Service Award and an electrician working in maintenance in Campus Services & Business Operations, Anthony was quite tired from his early morning. His father John regularly starts his day before dawn so that he can review the exterior lights on campus before they’ve been shut off for the day.

Anthony and John GirardiAnthony Girardi with his father John Girardi

“I walked around the campus and helped my dad as he fixed lights in the Petrie Building,” said Anthony. “My dad looks after the lights on campus and there are a lot of lights to look after! It’s crazy!”

His father is clear about the sense of responsibility he feels to make York as safe as possible, and recognizes the role he plays by keeping the exterior lighting functional. This work ethic has been passed to Anthony, who says that he hopes to one day follow in his Dad’s footsteps and become an electrician.

More than 250,000 students participated in Canada’s 2013 Take Our Kids to Work Day, according to national organizer The Learning Partnership. The day initially began in the United States in 1993 as Take Our Daughters to Work Day. In 2003, the program was expanded to boys. In the US, the Take Our Kids to Work Day is held in April.