Specialist High Skills Major

Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM)

Overview

The Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) is a specialized program approved by the Ministry of Education that allows students to focus their learning on a specific economic sector while meeting the requirements of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).

SHSMs assist students in their transition from secondary school to apprenticeship training, college, university or the workplace.

These programs enable students to gain sector specific skills and knowledge in engaging, career-related learning environments, and prepare in a focused way for graduation and postsecondary education, training or employment.

Components of a SHSM

The requirements of each SHSM are unique and geared to a specific sector.

The design of all SHSMs, however, follows this model and includes all five components.

Each SHSM consists of five required components:

1. Bundled Credits

Several of these credits often replace the elective choices in a student’s timetable.

A defined bundle of credits consisting of eight to ten Grade 11 and Grade 12 credits, including Co-operative Education. The credits in the bundle provide students with technical knowledge and skills particular to, and valued by, the SHSM sector.

Therefore, the required credits for each SHSM will vary, depending on:

  • the specific sector of each SHSM program
  • the student’s chosen pathway to one of four postsecondary options apprenticeship training, college, university or the workplace within each SHSM.

The bundle consists of:

Major credits

Each SHSM includes four major credits two Grade 11 courses and two Grade 12 courses that enable students to build a foundation of sector-focused knowledge and skills before entering a postsecondary destination.

Other required credits

In addition to the four major credits, each SHSM student must complete two, three or four other required credits from the Ontario curriculum. Other required credits include English, Math, and other subjects that enhance student learning within the specific industry sector.

Co-operative Education credits

Co-operative Education courses provide authentic learning experiences in a workplace setting and enable students to refine, extend, apply and practise the sector-specific knowledge and skills acquired in the bundle of credits.

Each SHSM pathway requires that students complete a minimum of two credits in Co-operative Education in a work placement in the sector.

NOTE: There are NO extra credits required to complete this program. All required credits may be obtained within the 30 required credits for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).

2. Certification and Training

All SHSMs require six or seven sector-recognized certifications that have been identified through extensive sector consultations. This component of the SHSM enables students to acquire the knowledge and skills related to safe work habits and sector-specific training. In addition, students with sector-recognized certifications and training have an advantage when entering the workforce.

They include:

  • three or four compulsory certifications or training courses/programs (example: first aid, CPR, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System WHMIS)
  • the required number of remaining certifications, which are selected from a list of elective certifications or training courses/programs.

NOTE: All certifications required within the SHSM are offered to the student of the program at no cost.

3. Experiential Learning and Career Exploration Activities

The SHSM experiential learning and career exploration requirement consists of planned learning activities that take place outside the traditional classroom setting.

Experiential learning and career exploration activities give students opportunities to explore, observe, participate in, and reflect on a variety of sector-specific experiences and careers. These activities also enable students enrolled in the SHSM to find out about the opportunities available in careers that interest them.

4. Reach Ahead Experiences

Students pursuing a SHSM must have opportunities for reach ahead experiences connected with their postsecondary plans. These experiences enable Grade 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.

5. Essential Skills and Work Habits

SHSM programs help students develop the Essential Skills and work habits that will prepare them for lifelong success, using the Ontario Skills Passport (OSP) as a planning and documentation tool. The OSP is a free, bilingual, web-based resource that provides clear descriptions of the Essential Skills and work habits important for work, learning and daily living.

Seven Key Benefits for Students

Pursuing a SHSM enables students to:

  1. Customize their secondary school education to suit their interests and talents.
  2. Develop specialized knowledge and skills that are valued by the sector and postsecondary education institutions.
  3. Earn credits that are recognized by the sector and postsecondary education institutions.
  4. Gain sector-specific and career-relevant certification and training.
  5. Develop Essential Skills and work habits that are valued by the sector, recorded using the tools in the Ontario Skills Passport (OSP).
  6. Identify, explore and refine their career goals and make informed decisions about their postsecondary destination.
  7. Remain flexible, with the option to shift between pathways should their goals and plans change.

Arts and Culture SHSM

A Specialist High Skills Major in Arts and Culture is currently being offered at:

  • Sudbury Secondary School
  • Manitoulin Secondary School

Profile

According to the Canada Council for the Arts, arts and culture are essential elements in the new global economy – not only for their entertainment value but also for the skills they develop in individuals. For example, an arts education challenges people to think critically and to solve problems creatively – skills that are now in high demand. During the 1990s, the culture sector labour force grew by 31 per cent, compared to a growth rate of 20 per cent for Canada’s labour force as a whole.

The SHSM – Arts and Culture enables students to build a foundation of sector-focused knowledge and skills before graduating and entering apprenticeship training, college, university or an entry-level position in the workplace. Depending on local circumstances, this SHSM may be designed to have a particular focus – for example, dance, dramatic arts management or technical production. Where a choice of focus areas is offered, students may select one.

For required components and other additional information, please view the brochure below.


Business SHSM

A Specialist High Skills Major in Business is currently being offered at:

  • Lasalle Secondary School

Profile

In 2006, over a third of Canada’s workforce of approximately 14.5 million people was employed in the fields of trade and commerce, finance and insurance, administration and support, and real estate and leasing. The business sector, the central pillar of Canada’s economy, is bursting with opportunities, from positions as accountants and clerks to administrators and retailers. Because of globalization and new technology, the business sector also offers opportunities to young entrepreneurs to aim at the international market. As long as there is commerce, qualified and knowledgeable workers in business will find prospects either in one of Canada’s prospering companies or as an entrepreneur in one of their own.

The SHSM Business enables students to build a foundation of sector-focused knowledge and skills before graduating and entering apprenticeship training, college, university or an entry-level position in the workplace. Depending on local circumstances, this SHSM may be designed to have a particular focus, for example, entrepreneurship, finance, accounting, retail, marketing, international business, economics, management and administration, or event planning. Where a choice of focus areas is offered, students may select one.

For required components and other additional information, please view the brochure below.


Construction SHSM

A Specialist High Skills Major in Construction is currently being offered at:

  • Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School

Profile

According to the Ontario Construction Secretariat, the construction industry is one of Ontario’s largest employers. The Construction Sector Council has created a province-by-province, trade-by-trade labour market forecast for the next nine years. In Ontario, it is estimated that 60,000 workers will be required to replace those retiring, who will take essential technical, supervisory, and management skills with them. Furthermore, an additional 75,000 workers will be needed to fill positions related to new construction between 2009 and 2017

There are four categories of work in the construction industry. Each requires the use of different equipment and workers with a variety of skills. Depending on the career chosen, a graduate could work in any or all of these categories:

  • new home building and renovation, including building, remodelling, or renovating houses and apartment buildings
  • heavy industrial construction, including building industrial facilities such as cement, automotive, chemical, or power plants, refineries, and oil-sands installations
  • institutional and commercial construction, including building commercial and institutional buildings and structures such as stadiums, schools, hospitals, grain elevators, and swimming pools
  • civil engineering construction, including engineering projects such as highways, dams, water and sewer lines, power and communication lines, and bridges.

For required components and other additional information, please view the brochure below.


Energy SHSM

A Specialist High Skills Major in Energy is currently being offered at:

  • Lasalle Secondary School

Profile

Energy is an emerging and expanding sector that encompasses all aspects of energy generation, distribution, and consumption, including research and development, design, construction, installation and maintenance.

Core industries in this sector include:

  • renewable and alternative energy such as wind, solar and biomass
  • power generation and distribution
  • fossil fuels
  • energy efficiency

For required components and other additional information, please view the brochure below.


Environment SHSM

A Specialist High Skills Major in Environment is currently being offered at:

  • Lively District Secondary School
  • Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School

Profile

Employment in the environment sector has boomed in recent years, and, according to industry experts, existing labour shortages in this sector are expected to increase as regulations to meet Canada’s goals regarding climate change come into effect.

ECO Canada’s Profile of Canadian Environmental Employment 2007 defines environmental employment as work in at least one of these sectors of the economy:

  • environmental protection – work related to air quality, water quality, land quality, waste management, restoration and reclamation, human and environmental health and safety, environmental protection management
  • conservation and preservation of natural resources – work related to fisheries and wildlife, forestry, agriculture, mining, energy, parks and natural reserves, natural resources management
  • environmental sustainability – work related to education, research and development, policy and legislation, communications and policy awareness, management for sustainable development

For required components and other additional information, please view the brochure below.


Health and Wellness SHSM

A Specialist High Skills Major in Health and Wellness is currently being offered at:

  • Chelmsford Valley District Composite School
  • Lasalle Secondary School
  • Lively District Secondary School
  • Lockerby Composite School

Profile

Kinesiologist, child care worker, audiologist, fitness instructor, doctor, nurse, physiotherapist, youth care worker, hospital porter, and medical technician are just some of the numerous and varied occupations in the health and wellness sector. This sector not only has a wide variety of careers, but also is significant for the number of workers it employs. According to Canada’s Health Care System, published by Health Canada in 2005, “approximately 1.6 million people work in health care and social services in Canada”. The same publication states that this figure makes this sector “the nation’s third largest employer after manufacturing and the retail trade”.

The demand for health and wellness professionals will only increase. One reason is that a large number of employees in the sector are nearing retirement age. A survey conducted in 2002 found that “12% of the total number of [Ontario’s] health care professionals… are over the age of 55.” In addition, as our population ages, the demands on the health care sector will rise.

For required components and other additional information, please view the brochure below.


Information and Communication Technology (ICT) SHSM

A Specialist High Skills Major in Information and Communication Technology is currently being offered at:

  • Confederation Secondary School

Profile

Information and communications technology (ICT) is the sector that processes information (which includes capturing, transmitting, and displaying information) using electronic systems. The ICT sector continues to transform our economy and everyday life. According to Industry Canada, the total number of ICT workers in Canada increased of 10.7 per cent between 2002 and 2008. Employees in the ICT sector are well compensated. On average, an ICT worker earned $58,618 in 2007 46 per cent more than the economy-wide average of $40,083.20.

Students enrolled in the SHSM – Information and Communications Technology will be involved in today’s rapid and exciting changes in technology and will contribute to new and emerging media and technologies in the years to come.

For required components and other additional information, please view the brochure below.


Manufacturing SHSM

A Specialist High Skills Major in Manufacturing is currently being offered at:

  • Confederation Secondary School

Profile

Automobiles, wood products, petroleum and coal products, iron and steel mills, primary metals and fabricated metal products, electricity, plastics and rubber products, printing, biotechnology, textiles, clothing, and leather products are all aspects of the manufacturing sector. In Ontario, the manufacturing sector still accounts for the greatest number of jobs with its production of consumer and industrial goods that are essential for the province’s prosperity. Although the manufacturing sector remains a powerhouse in our economy, contributing 15 per cent of gross domestic product in 2007, the sector is undergoing fundamental change.

An article on the website of the Alliance of Sector Councils explains that the manufacturing sector is under tremendous pressure as a result of multiple external stresses, including marketplace globalization, an accelerated pace of technological change, and a global financial crisis. The alliance reports that manufacturers are now urgently refocusing their strategies to remain competitive and continue to be an important part of the Canadian economy. The manufacturing industry is committed to addressing skills development, labour market, and human resource issues across the various sectors within Canadian manufacturing. This will provide new employment opportunities for students choosing to pursue a career in this sector.

For required components and other additional information, please view the brochure below.


Mining SHSM

A Specialist High Skills Major in Mining is currently being offered at:

  • Espanola High School
  • Lively District Secondary School
  • Lockerby Composite School

Profile

Canada is now one of the largest mining nations in the world, producing more than 60 minerals and metals. The mining industry is a major player in Canada’s economy and contributes nearly five per cent of the country’s gross domestic product. Mining also accounts for 19 per cent of Canada’s total exports. The mining industry provides Canadians with job opportunities. In 2007, the mining and mining processing industries directly employed 363,000 Canadians.

According to the Mining Industry Human Resources Council, over the next 10 years there will be a shortage of 92,000 workers in the mining and minerals sector. The shortage will be especially critical in the following occupations: physical scientist, engineer, technician/technologist, skilled tradesperson, mine labourer and support staff. The anticipated demand is a result of industry growth, retirements (especially in the skilled trades), competition for labour from other economic sectors, and the challenges of recruiting young people into mining occupations.

For required components and other additional information, please view the brochure below.


News Articles

Lasalle Secondary School students sleep with the sharks (Sudbury Living Magazine – Jan 2014)

High school program dispels mining myths (Northern Life – Nov 2013)

New School Program Targets Filmmaking (Sudbury Star – Mar 2013)

Film program offers high school students window into industry (CBC Points North – Mar 2013)