posted on Nov. 6: Grade 9 students visit McMaster Nov. 7 – Take A Child To Work Day


Number-crunching and spreedsheets may figure into 13-year-old Alex Paskevicius' schedule on Wednesday. That's when his father, Al, who manages McMaster's utilities services for physical plant, will be wrapping up his budget for the next year.

“I've got to complete my budgets on Wednesday so he may get a crack at using Excel. He's taught me a few things when it comes to computers,” chuckles the elder Paskevicius. A tour of McMaster's boiler room and accompanying dad to meetings about the central utilities expansion plans are also planned for young Alex.

A Grade 9 student at St. Mary's high school, Alex will be among the 50 such students from area schools who'll be accompanying their parents to work at McMaster on Wednesday as participants in the annual “Take A Child To Work” program.

“I just want him to become aware of what his dad does. And I want to expose him to some things that he may find interesting and possibly want to pursue in the future. He may not have any interest in what I do, but while he's here he'll learn what it is that other people do and he might say 'Dad, I wouldn't mind doing that in the future,'” says Paskevicius of his reasons for bringing his son to work.

To ensure the health and safety of the young visitors, the University has established new procedures for having children in the workplace. “Like other organizations, we want to make sure that any risks that might be involved during such visits are identified and controlled to prevent exposure to injury or illness,” says Christel Kaiser-Farrell of Risk Management Services. “We want the students to enjoy their experience and also be safe while they are here.”

A number of activities are being planned to make the students' visits memorable. A welcome reception/luncheon for all Grade 9 students and their parents will be held from 11 a.m. to noon in the Mezzanine of the Ivor Wynne Centre. University President Peter George will address the group at 11:15 a.m. Pizza and pop will be provided. The students will also have an opportunity to find out more about McMaster and to participate in a short fitness activity at 11:30 a.m.

Last summer two high school students in the Niagara region were killed while participating in the workplace program. The incident prompted a number of institutions, including McMaster, to review their policies and procedures around such activities. Last month, the Industry-Education Council held seminars for employers participating in the program. A number of high schools have also held health and safety education and awareness programs to prepare students for their visits.

McMaster continues to support the program, but has established formal procedures for those employees who wish to bring a child to work. Specifically, children are to be only observers in the workplace and the parent or guardian is solely responsible for the child's safety and welfare on this day.

“Any employee who intends to bring his/her or a friend's child to work must get permission from the department head, dean or director prior to the activity. In addition, the individual hosting the child in the workplace must identify any hazards in the workplace and communicate this information to the department head,” says Kaiser-Farrell. For forms or information, contact Risk Management Services in GH-B111.