Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program

Ontario Youth Apprenticeship logo

Apprenticeship (OYAP)

Welcome to the World of Trades!

This page is a celebration of OYAP success… Past, Present and Future.

The people profiled in this web page are OYAP ambassadors. They have the brains and they have the brawn and they love what they do! They will tell you what it really means to enter a skilled trade as a young apprentice.

These are the young people who build our homes, maintain our vehicles and provide important services and much more. These young people are our future gold collar professionals.

Without young vital apprentices entering skilled trades the industry’s productivity and bottom line will undoubtedly suffer. Young people play an important role in ensuring our economy thrives and the wheels of industry continue to turn.

Join us on their journey as we explore the exciting world of skilled trades. From heavy duty equipment technicians to air craft maintenance engineers, the opportunities are endless for young people who are interested in challenge, variety, job security and upward mobility.

Because of their training through OYAP, they can look forward to a myriad of possibilities…from staying in the trade to management positions, business ownership or careers in teaching. Many will decide to enhance their certifications. Others will pursue post secondary education…The sky’s the limit for these bright young people.

This page provides information about OYAP, apprenticeship training, financial support to employers and valuable links and resources in support of apprenticeship careers for youth. Learn about OYAP as a viable program pathway for secondary school students interested in pursuing the trades.

Building a Career in the Trades is intended to:

  • Provide young people with valuable resources and information about the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program.
  • Inform young people, educators, employers and parents about career pathways in the skilled trades.
  • Encourage secondary school students to consider the skilled trades as a viable career destination.
  • Provide young people with role models who have successfully entered the trades as apprentices through the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program.
  • Provide a wealth of apprenticeship information of interest to educators, parents and employers.
  • Raise awareness of opportunities related to careers in the skilled trades.
  • Demonstrate the benefits of apprenticeship training and the viability of careers in the trades.


A Pathway to a Rewarding Career!

More than one third of Ontario’s certified tradespeople will be retiring within the next few years. Business and government predict serious shortages of qualified replacement workers. Shortages are already evident in a number of skilled trades.

The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program was introduced within the Rainbow District School Board high schools in an effort to provide senior students with an additional option to train as apprentices in the skilled trades.

What is OYAP?

OYAP is a youth apprenticeship program aimed at providing grade 11 and grade 12 students with opportunities to train as apprentices in a number of skilled occupations while completing studies toward an Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

Most important, OYAP strives to introduce senior high school students to skilled trades in an effort to increase youth apprenticeship opportunities.

OYAP partners with employers who are committed to offering apprenticeship opportunities to students who demonstrate an aptitude and interest in skilled occupations through work experience placements.

OYAP meets the objectives of secondary school reform by providing secondary school students with a school to work transition program.

Consider the following realities:

  • Apprenticeship training provides young people with access to well paying jobs that demand high levels of skills, good judgement and creativity.
  • The need for skilled tradespeople will continue to increase.
  • Many skilled tradespeople use their trade as a stepping stone toward careers in management while others go into business for themselves.

Why should young people consider becoming an apprentice?

OYAP can provide senior high school students with a significant head start in a skilled trade. OYAP students have the potential to secure a certificate of apprenticeship, a certificate of qualification and earning power at an early age. The national average age of an apprentice is twenty six. Through OYAP students are able to accelerate their career path by several years.

Many students from the Rainbow District School Board are officially registered as apprentices with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) at age eighteen. These students are in a position to complete their apprenticeship training and acquire journeyperson status by age twenty three.

Through OYAP students can:

  • Begin a skilled trade as an apprentice
  • Develop trade related competencies and collect hours toward a skilled trade
  • Earn co-op credits toward a high school diploma
  • Increase opportunities for employment and post secondary education
  • Enrich school courses through related trade experience
  • Have the potential to earn while they learn

Students who enroll in OYAP benefit in several ways while in high school.

OYAP increases a student’s options!  Students can either register as apprentices or use the OYAP Program as a pathway toward a post secondary education.  Regardless of their choice OYAP provides students with a win-win situation.

OYAP can make it easier for a young person to enter the skilled trades . . . at an early age!

Why should parents consider OYAP?

It takes an average of two to five years to complete an apprenticeship program. In comparison, it takes three to four years to complete a university undergraduate program and two to three years to complete a college program.

Apprenticeship training is an ‘earn while you learn’ and cost-effective option to the traditional university or community college route. Since apprentices earn while they learn they are in a position to increase their earning power at an early age while substantially reducing education costs.

Between 80 to 90 per cent of apprenticeship training takes place on the job. This means about 10 to 20 per cent takes place at a community college or other approved delivery agent. Currently the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development purchases seats for in-school training at little cost to the apprentice. These seats are purchased either on a block release or day release basis which means the apprentice does not incur high education costs and does not lose wages for extended periods. Graduates who have participated in the OYAP option may begin their in-school training sooner. In some cases senior high school students begin in-school training in addition to their high school program and work experience placements through the School College Work Initiative Dual Credt Program offered at Cambrian College.

Student Eligibility

Students may be considered for OYAP if they are at least 16 years of age, in grade 11 or 12 and serious about learning a skilled trade.

How do students get involved?

Interested students are asked to meet with their guidance counsellor. All OYAP students must be registered with the cooperative education program to access the OYAP option. Each applicant is interviewed by the co-operative education teacher and employer. Those admitted to the program must follow co-operative education course requirements during their half day or full day work experience placements.

Red Seal Program (Interprovincial Standards Program)

What is the Red Seal Program?   

The Red Seal Program also known as the Interprovincial Standards Program is in place to provide skilled trades people with greater mobility throughout Canada.  The Red Seal Program encourages the standardization of Provincial/Territorial training and certification programs.

How does a person obtain a “Red Seal”?

This seal can be obtained by graduating from a recognized Provincial or Territorial apprenticeship program or by obtaining a journey level Certificate of Qualification and by passing the Interprovincial Standards Examination.

For further information visit www.red-seal.ca

Did you know? Myth Busters!


Under the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program students are provided with the opportunity to complete the following certifications.

These certifications are recognized by Industry:

Working at Heights – NORCAT – Northern Centre for Advanced Technology Inc.

Young Employee Safety Training Certification – NORCAT – Northern Centre for Advanced Technology Inc.

WHMIS Certification – NORCAT – Northern Centre for Advanced Technology Inc.

Other certifications as required by the co-op placement.

For more information contact the Co-op/OYAP Office at 705.688.0888.

Course Requirements

OYAP students follow all co-operative education course requirements which include:

Pre-placement orientation, independent student projects, in-class assignments, reflective learning, integration of classroom, workplace learning, work experience placements, etc.

Credit Value 1

Pre-Placement: 15 to 20 hours
Integration: 7 hours
Placement: 83 to 88 hours
Total Hours: 110 hours

Credit Value 2
Pre-Placement: 15 to 20 hours
Integration: 14 hours
Placement: 186 to 191 hours
Total Hours: 220 hours

Credit Value 4
Pre-Placement: 15 to 20 hours
Integration: 28 hours
Placement: 392 to 397 hours
Total Hours: 440 hours

How to Enroll

Key Points

Students who are interested in exploring skilled trades or registering as apprentices are asked to speak with their guidance counsellor or co-op education teacher for general information.

Students must first gain acceptance into the co-operative education program in order to access the OYAP option. Students who are placed in work experience placements in the skilled trades automatically fall under the OYAP option. Registration as an apprentice is not automatic. Students must demonstrate readiness.

OYAP involves two levels:

Level one:
Exploration. Students explore the trades during a work experience placement.

Level two:
Registration as an apprentice with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development.

Level two is not a given. Registration as an apprentice is not automatic. Students who proceed to step two must be recognized as having the qualities to officially begin an apprenticeship program while in high school.

Students are assessed by their co-operative education teacher in consultation with the employer (supervisor) throughout the semester to determine their suitability to officially register as an apprentice.

Students who demonstrate an ability and interest in pursuing a skilled trade may be considered for official registration as apprentices. The OYAP coordinator will make arrangements with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) – Apprenticeship Branch and with the employer to officially register the student.

A consultation between the co-op teacher and the OYAP coordinator is required to identify suitable students for official registration as apprentices.

Students enrolled in the OYAP option must meet the requirements of the Co-operative Education Policies and Procedures.


Students must:

  • Be 16 years of age
  • Have completed grade ten (16 credits)
  • Demonstrate an interest and aptitude in a skilled trade
  • Have some related course background in their trade of interest

A student’s suitability for the OYAP option is assessed on an individual basis with input from guidance counsellors, co-op teachers and subject teachers.


The co-op teacher conducts an interview with the student to determine the student’s suitability for OYAP. The OYAP co-ordinator is available to meet with the student to provide OYAP and apprenticeship information.


The enrolment of an OYAP student to co-operative education is determined by the guidance counsellor in consultation with the co-operative education teacher.


Each OYAP student is required to successfully complete an interview with an employer as per the requirements of the co-operative education program to secure a work experience placement in a skilled trade.


Follow-ups, monitors and evaluations are conducted by the co-op teacher. The OYAP co-ordinator will liaise with the co-op teacher and the employer in an effort to identify apprenticeship opportunities.

The OYAP coordinator is responsible for initiating the apprenticeship registration process with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development. In addition, the OYAP coordinator is available to meet with the co-op teacher and OYAP student and/or employer to provide apprenticeship related information.

Secondary School Schedules

The OYAP option is delivered at various high schools throughout the Rainbow District School Board. OYAP work experience placements are offered in line with the co-operative education program timetable.

OYAP is offered on a half or full day basis in semester one and semester two and during summer co-op. Schedules may differ from school to school.

Apprenticeship Registration with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development – Apprenticeship Branch

Employers who wish to officially register OYAP students as apprentices are requested to meet with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development. This meeting is organized by the OYAP coordinator and involves the student, employer and Ministry Training consultant. Parents may attend this session. Arrangements will be made for their participation.

A Ministry Training Agreement/Contract of Apprenticeship, Sponsor Agreement and Application for Apprenticeship must be signed by the employer, student/apprentice and Ministry Training consultant. Students under age 18 must secure parental consent on the Application for Apprenticeship Training Agreement/Contract of Apprenticeship. During the sign-up meeting the Training Consultant will thoroughly review the details of the apprenticeship program. In addition, the student is required to register with the Ontario College of Trades (fee exempt). Membership applications are provided only to those students who register as apprentices.

Once the student is registered as an apprentice, he or she will receive a wallet card from the OCT. The OYAP apprentice can access official training standard or schedule of training from the Ontario College of Trades.

The apprentice and employer are expected to follow the training standard or schedule of training. In addition, the student’s personalized placement learning plan (PPLP) must reflect the components of the training standard or schedule of training.

Skills learned by the apprentice are recorded and signed off by the employer (supervisor).

OYAP students may be provided with additional support from the OYAP budget to further enhance their training. Support may include, work boots, coveralls. Co-op teachers are invited to contact the OYAP coordinator for additional details.

Eligibility Criteria

OYAP student eligibility:

Students who are at least 16 years of age, in Grade 11 or 12 and interested in learning a skilled trade may qualify for OYAP option.

Students should also have some course related background in the area of their trade interest (for example:  technological studies, family studies or computer related courses).

Students under 18 years of age must have parental consent to participate in OYAP.

Students who participate in OYAP may:

  • Enrich school courses through related work experience placements
  • Have the potential to begin a career in a skilled trade while in high school
  • Have the potential to register as an apprentice with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development if approved for an apprenticeship
  • Learn apprenticeship hours while working toward an OSSD
  • Establish important contacts with employers while in high school
  • Increase employment opportunities for part-time and summer employment while in high school and for full-time employment after graduation
  • Increase earning power at an early age
  • Reduce apprenticeship time after high school graduation
  • Work toward acquiring a Certificate of Apprenticeship and a Certificate of Qualification well ahead of the national average

Co-operative education students who are placed in work experience placements related to a skilled trade are identified as OYAP students.

Enrolment under the OYAP option will ensure additional resources and support systems are made available to students who may potentially register with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development officially as apprentices. In an effort to ensure students receive comprehensive support, the OYAP coordinator requires the names of these students at the beginning of each semester.

Best Practices

Below is a document that outlines the best practices for co-op teachers, employers, Journey Persons and OYAP students.

Frequently Asked Questions

Access a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Trade Definitions

Access a list of trade definitions.

Labour Market

Access some facts and important about the labour market.


See what OYAP students, employers and parents had to say about the program.

Apprenticeship Information Websites

Access a list of informative websites for apprentices.

Contact Us

For more information:

Please call the OYAP office  or email or contact your high school’s guidance counsellor or co-operative education teacher.

OYAP is funded by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development and meets Ministry of Education requirements.

Co-op/OYAP Office
Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program

Or contact a school nearest you to reach a co-op teacher:

Barrydowne College
1400 Barrydowne Road, Sudbury

Chelmsford Valley District Composite School

Confederation Secondary School

Espanola High

Lasalle Secondary School

Lively Secondary School

Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School

Lockerby Composite School

Manitoulin Secondary School

Sudbury Secondary School