There has been much renewed interest in skilled trades options as career pathways for high schools. Many industries are eager to attract young people to consider these pathways and demographic trends suggest there will be available opportunities in many areas of the skill trades pathways in the future. This sector provides a range of rewarding and challenging vocations which provide a valuable and essential services to our communities.
As many co-op and technical arts teachers have long known, many students in Edvance affiliate high schools have gifts and skills that would allow them to be successful in a range of career paths in the skill trades pathways. Apprenticeships offer the best entry point into these skilled trades pathways. Recently the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, the Honorable Monte McNaughton, announced that independent high schools will be able to offer the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP). High schools affiliated with Edvance will be able to offer this program to their students beginning in 2021-22 as part of a pilot program, with the opportunity for other independent schools to register students through Edvance in the following year.
OYAP offers the opportunity for eligible high school students to do a co-operative education placement in any one of over designated 140 skilled trades in Ontario. This includes all voluntary and compulsory trades and covers a wide range of sectors such as Motive Power, Construction, Industrial and Service trades–from heavy equipment technician to electrician to millwright to commercial cook.
Upon entry into the program, students have the option to enter into a registered training agreement (RTA) with their employer during the placement or upon completion and their co-op hours will be counted towards training requirement for the particular trade. Through the support of the Christian Labour Association of Canada, the program also provides students for a number of key safety training certifications (e.g. WHMIS, Working At Heights, Elevated Work Platforms) and provides for their WSIB coverage. The program also provides support for co-op teachers in arranging placements with eligible employers and assistance with registering OYAP students with the MLTSD. Already, a number of Edvance high schools have been enrolled in the pilot program for the coming year, and we anticipate a number of students beginning the first OYAP placements in the fall.
This is an exciting development for students interested in exploring careers and apprenticeships in the skilled trades, and also allows participating High Schools to further develop their relationships with community partners and employers in their co-operative education programs. Career preparation in this sector fits well with the mission of Edvance high schools to prepare students for meaningful service and encouraging them to develop their God given gifts and skills in order to make positive contributions to their communities.
Edvance high schools that are interested in learning more about the program for 2021-22 are invited to contact OYAP Project Leader Richard Van Egmond at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. You can also download the Edvance OYAP brochure to share with students.