Specialist High Skills Major

A Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) is a specialized program that allows students to experience a range of customized, career-focused learning opportunities while working towards their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). The Ministry of Education has developed SHSM programs for many of the industry and business sectors in the province and has authorized the York Region District School Board to offer SHSM programs in 14 of these sectors.

Students now have the opportunity to customize their high school experience, explore new ways of learning and 'reach ahead' to their post-secondary destination of choice (apprenticeship, college, university or the workplace). Learn how your child can take advantage of these vibrant and exciting programs by browsing our website or contacting the guidance department at your local secondary school.

What is Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) programming?

An SHSM is a Ministry of Education approved specialized program that allows students to focus their learning on a specific economic sector while meeting the requirements to graduate from secondary school. It also assists in their transition after graduation to apprenticeship training, college, university or the workplace.

Who is it for?

SHSM is available to all students in grades 11 and 12 regardless of their choice of post-secondary destination. SHSM programs are available across York Region at the majority of YRDSB secondary schools.

What are the benefits?

SHSM provides students with an opportunity to:

  • Customize their secondary school education to suit their strengths, interests and abilities
  • Develop specialized knowledge and skills
  • Earn credits that postsecondary educational institutions and the sector recognize
  • Gain sector-recognized certification and career-relevant training
  • Develop Essential Skills and work habits documented through the Ontario Skills Passport
  • Identify, explore and refine career goals and make informed decisions about their future
  • Remain flexible, with the option to shift between pathways, should their goals and plans change.

Students who successfully complete an SHSM will have a special SHSM Red Seal embossed on their Ontario Secondary School Diploma and will also receive an official SHSM Record documenting the SHSM credits earned, and the industry/business sector related certifications and training received, as a part of their SHSM.

Students who graduate with an SHSM can look forward to improved prospects after secondary school because of the recognition of and support for the SHSM content from business and industry, apprenticeship training programs, colleges, and universities.

Want to Know More?

For more information on specific SHSM programs please refer to your secondary school's website or contact the school's guidance or cooperative education department.

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