Ontario’s Special High Skills Major (SHSM) program is receiving an additional 122 new programs across the province. The province’s minister of education, Stephen Lecce, made the announcement as part of the lead-up to National Skilled Trades and Technology Week.
It is estimated that by 2021, one in five new jobs in Ontario will be in trades-related occupations, with employers already facing a shortage of workers in key sectors.
“We know that a labour market shortage exists today and will rise over time in the high-paying skilled trades,” said Lecce. “My top priority is to ensure students get the skills they need and, by investing in the skilled trades, our government is helping more students gain the competitive edge and job prospects they deserve.”
As part of the program, high school students can now choose among an additional 122 new programs related to 19 different sectors, including construction, agriculture and mining. This is designed to give students have greater choice in selecting a career path that matches their skills and interests while meeting the requirements of a high school diploma.
“Today’s announcement is great news for students, employers and young women who might be considering careers in the skilled trades,” said Jill Dunlop, associate minister of children and women’s issues. “If we’re serious about addressing the skilled labour shortage we must actively recruit, train and mentor young women in the trades. Expanding the SHSM program is an important step forward.”
The government estimates that more than 54,000 students will be enrolled in over 2,100 SHSM programs in more than 700 secondary schools.