Connor Litton spends a day with the Nanoose Volunteer Fire Department on Wednesday, Nov. 1. He was one of many SD69 Grade 9 students to take part in Take Our Kids To Work Day. — Courtesy Luc Ouellet

Day on the job sparks career planning for Parksville Qualicum Beach students

Ballenas students discuss where they went for Take Our Kids To Work Day

Grade 9 students have more than three years of high school still ahead of them, but many local students now know better than ever that they’ve got to start thinking about life on the job.

The vast majority of Grade 9 students in School District 69 (Qualicum) took part in the Take Our Kids to Work Day on Wednesday, Nov. 1, said career co-ordinator and program organizer, Luc Ouellet.

Students could go to work with a parent, guardian or volunteer to find out what their work is like. The earliest start for a student was 4:15 a.m., for a student who had to get down to the dry docks in Victoria, said Ouellet.

“(When the students) are back in school, they start to reflect a little bit… talk with their friends about work, and all of a sudden conversations about careers and where they’re going, it becomes more real,” he said.

That was true of Ballenas Secondary School students Camryn Wheldon, Dawson Meldrun and Cole Thomas.

Wheldon remained within the school realm for her work day, going to Nanoose Bay Elementary with a family friend.

She worked with a Kindergarten to Grade 1 class, and spent some time with a therapy puppy that is in training to work at the school, she said.

“I loved working with all the kids,” she said, adding that working with children is one career option she’s already considered.

One of the biggest things she learned was, with students that age, teachers have to be flexible with their plans for the day, and be able to respond to what the kids need.

The hardest part of that job, she said, is every once in a while having to put your foot down. “No one ever wants to say ‘no’ to a little kid.”

As for her future, she said the experience made her realize there are various careers available to her at schools: not just as a teacher, but as an administrator, a secretary and in specialized roles such as wood shop teachers.

Meldrun headed to work at a lumber mill with his dad on Nov. 1, saying it’s not a job he’s interested in, but that he now has a better understanding of what his dad does at the mill, and what other jobs are available there.

“It’s just a lot more complicated that you’d think it would be,” he said.

After helping to sort and stack wood, Meldrun said he knows he wants to do something physical with his hands for his career, though he’s not sure what that is yet.

Thomas went to the Oceanside Animal Hospital with his mother.

He said he enjoyed working with the animals to calm them and make them feel comfortable, but said he didn’t like the surgeries.

Though he was already interested in being a mechanical engineer, he said the work day solidified that plan for him, and gave him a better idea of what his mom’s job is, which includes helping with surgeries.

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