Ontario Preparing Students for Jobs of the Future
Mandatory high school graduation requirement will empower students with early exposure to technological education and skilled trades
March 20, 2023
The Ontario government is implementing a new high school graduation requirement to help better prepare students across our province for the jobs of tomorrow. Starting with students entering Grade 9 in September 2024, all students will now be required to earn a Grade 9 or 10 Technological Education credit as part of their Ontario Secondary School Diploma.
“I am proud to announce another step forward to ensure all students learn the critical skills necessary to succeed and get a good paying job,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “By requiring students to take at least one Technological Education credit in high school, we are opening up doors and creating new pathways to good jobs in STEM and the skilled trades. All students will benefit from a greater emphasis on hands-on learning experiences and technical skills in the classroom so they can graduate with a competitive advantage in this country.”Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education
This new learning graduation requirement will expose Ontario’s students to at least one Technological Education course that could guide them to a future career in the highly skilled workforce, including the skilled trades. With more than 100,000 unfilled skilled trades jobs right now, it is critical Ontario attracts more young people to pursue a fulfilling, good-paying career in the trades.
The Technological Education curriculum covers a broad range of sectors, including construction, transportation, manufacturing, computer technology, hospitality and communication. In Ontario, men make up more than 70 per cent of workers in trades-related occupations. The exposure to these career pathways as a mandatory graduation curriculum requirement will ensure more young women make the choice to pursue a career in the trades.
While almost 39 per cent of Ontario secondary school students were enrolled in a Technological Education course in 2020-21, nearly 63 per cent were male students. With this graduation requirement, more young women will have an opportunity to explore the trades. This new requirement means a student may be introduced to programming learning in Grade 9, explore the apprenticeship pathway further and may ultimately decide to become an Aerospace Manufacturing Technician.
“For Ontario to succeed, we need more women and girls to pursue fulfilling careers in the skilled trades. I am proud our government is taking action to ensure students across our province have the tools and skills they need to build a new generation of prosperity in Ontario,” said Charmaine Williams, Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity. “This mandatory graduation requirement means a brighter future – not just for Women and Girls – but for our entire province.”Charmaine Williams, Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity
This new graduation requirement builds upon other actions taken by the government to bolster its Skilled Trades Strategy, including developing an accelerated Grade 11 to apprenticeship pathway for students to get into the skilled trades faster.
“Ontario is facing the largest labour shortage in a generation, which means when you have a career in the skilled trades, you have a career for life,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “That’s why our government is taking an all-hands-on deck approach to attract and train our next generation of skilled trades workers for better jobs and bigger paycheques for themselves and their families.”Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development
This action supports the next steps in Ontario’s Plan to Catch Up and ensures students have exposure and access to learning opportunities to consider STEM fields, including in the skilled trades, as a future career.
- The government is beginning consultations with employers, unions, education stakeholders, trainers, parents, students and others to explore academic entry requirements for the skilled trades.
- It’s projected that, by 2026, approximately one in five job openings in Ontario will be in skilled trades-related fields.
- By graduation, 73 per cent of secondary school students earn at least one credit in Technological Education.
- In 2022-23, students are approved to participate in over 25,500 Dual Credits, of which over 10,900 are related to the skilled trades and technology.
- Since 2020, Ontario has invested nearly $1 billion to make it easier to learn a trade, breaking the stigma, attracting youth, simplifying the system, and encouraging employer participation.
“The General Contractors’ Association of Toronto (GCAT) strongly supports revitalizing the graduation requirement for each student to complete a tech ed high school credit. The skilled trades offer in-demand, lucrative and rewarding careers and we believe the mandatory credit will expose students to opportunities they would not have known of otherwise. GCAT applauds the work this government continues to do to address our labour shortage while promoting careers in construction, including the skilled trades and to provide a healthy perception of the construction industry to help make an informed career decision.”
– Jim Vlahos
Executive Director, General Contractors’ Association of Toronto
“Skills Ontario is pleased and fully supportive of today’s announcement requiring students to take Tech Education classes as part of the curriculum. We have long advocated that students need more exposure to and experiential opportunities with skilled trades and technology. This change will result in more students being introduced to skilled trades and technology, which will help to address our skills shortages and move more people to fulfilling and rewarding careers. This is another example of Ontario’s leadership in developing and delivering skills solutions that will benefit the province, our economy and our standard of living.”
– Ian Howcroft
CEO of Skills Ontario
“There aren’t enough skilled workers in Ontario but attracting more women to these jobs will go a long way. With the growing demand for jobs in STEM and Skilled Trades, I applaud the Government of Ontario for requiring high school students to take at least one technological education credit before graduation. The exposure to these courses will give women a greater opportunity to explore these career paths. Tech is the future, and it’s high time we ensure that all of Ontario’s youth – regardless of race, gender or social class – are given the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the jobs of tomorrow. That’s exactly what I aspire to do with Codespire: inspire and educate underrepresented young people by unlocking the advantages of digital literacy.”
– Harseshaj Dhami
Founder of Codespire
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The Ontario government is preparing young people for in-demand and well-paying careers by allowing students in grade 11 to transition to a full-time, skilled trades apprenticeship program. Upon receiving their Certificate of Apprenticeship, these young workers can apply for their Ontario Secondary School Diploma as mature students.
At a time when the province continues to face historic labour shortages, this change means that more students will be able to enter the trades faster than ever before to help build Ontario.