Experiential Learning

The Specialist High Skills Majors program is preparing the next generation of Ontario’s workforce by connecting the skills and knowledge that students develop in school to those that business need today and tomorrow. Students, teachers, schools, government, and businesses are all working together to ensure Ontario’s work force can meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Mary Jean Gallagher, Assistant Deputy Minister, Student Achievement Division, Ministry of Education

Participating in SHSM will expose students to various careers through experiential learning and “reach ahead” opportunities. These opportunities take place outside of the traditional classroom setting to provide students with real life experiences connected with their post-secondary plans.

Experiential learning opportunities are planned activities that may include career exploration, job shadowing, job twinning, and work experience.

Experiential learning and career exploration activities could include the following:

  • Participation in a technological skills competition
  • One-on-one observation of a cooperative education student in a placement in the employment sector (i.e. job twinning)
  • A day-long observation of a person working in the sector (i.e. job shadowing)
  • a one- or two week experience with a member of an industry association or a professional in the sector (i.e. work experience)
  • A career talk by a local sector representative
  • Attendance at a career fair or a conference hosted by the sector

“Reach ahead” experiences enable grades 11 and 12 students to gain confidence in their ability to be successful, refine skills and work habits, and make informed choices about future careers and next steps.

Reach ahead opportunities could include:

The credits in the bundle provide students with knowledge and skills particular to, and valued by, the SHSM sector. Therefore, the required credits for each SHSM will vary, depending on:

  • Visits to sector-related industries and/or businesses
  • Attending a number of college or university classes in the student’s area of interest
  • Attending a conference or workshop held by the sector
  • Visiting an approved apprenticeship delivery agent to investigate a skilled trade of interest to the SHSM student
  • Interviewing an employee in the field of work the SHSM student is considering
  • Completing a dual credit, which counts for towards both the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) and a postsecondary certificate, diploma, or degree, or Level 1 apprenticeship (dual credit courses are ministry funded and subject to separate approval policies and procedures).