Specialist High Skills Majors (SHSM) program

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The Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program at the Ottawa Catholic School Board gives your child hands-on experience in an in-demand career sector while still in high school. Students in grades 11 and 12 get to explore career options, gain qualifications and start carving out their future right now.

What’s in it for my child?

Whether your child is destined for post-secondary education, an apprenticeship or heading straight into the workforce after high school, our SHSM programs give students a taste of a career path as they work towards their high school diploma. In short, these programs help your child discover their interests and skills while opening doors for future employment.

 

When your child completes a SHSM program, they receive:

 

  • An Ontario Secondary School Diploma with an embossed SHSM seal
  • SHSM Record documenting their achievement
  • Formal recognition on the Ontario Student Transcript
  • Industry-recognized certification and training
  • Practical experience and learning in their chosen career sector
  • Opportunities to network with local industries and businesses

SHSM programs and locations

Arts and Culture SHSM

Your child will use their unique skills and abilities as they explore careers in the arts! Students learn how to think critically, express ideas and solve problems creatively – skills in high demand in all walks of life.

Locations and contact

  • All Saints High School – 613-271-4254
  • St. Peter High School – 613-837-9377
  • St. Pius X High School – 613-225-8105

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Business SHSM

The business sector is bursting with opportunities for budding entrepreneurs. Your child will get a taste of the business world as they network with business owners and entrepreneurs as they share tips and best practices to thrive in Canadian and global business markets.

Locations and contact

  • Sacred Heart High School – 613-831-6643
  • St. Matthew High School – 613-837-3161

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Construction SHSM

Through this program, your child will gain firsthand experience to prepare them for a successful career in the construction industry through impactful hands-on learning opportunities. From planning to building, your child will hone their creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration skills while gearing up for a fun future in one of Ontario’s largest career sectors.

Locations and contact

  • St. Francis Xavier High School – 613-822-7900
  • St. Mark High School – 613-692-2551
  • St. Peter High School – 613-837-9377

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Environment SHSM

From climate change to clean air and water, your child’s generation is stepping up to make systemic changes to the way we live for the sake of our planet and God’s creation as a whole. This emerging sector offers a vast array of opportunities ranging from advocacy, research, recreation, conservation and innovation.

Locations and contact

  • Immaculata High School – 613-237-2001
  • Notre Dame High School – 613-722-6565

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Health and Wellness SHSM

If your child is inclined towards a career in the health and wellness sector, this is an excellent opportunity to test the waters while still in high school. With many career opportunities to choose from, ranging from fitness, medicine to veterinary

The demand for professionals in the Health and Wellness sector in Ontario and across Canada increases as the age of our population increases. As such, this sector has a wide variety of career opportunities and employs close to 2 million people across Canada. Kinesiologist, child care worker, fitness instructor, doctor, nurse, veterinary technician, hospital porter and medical technician are just some of the numerous occupations that the SHSM Health and Wellness program prepares students to pursue.

Locations and contact

  • All Saints High School – 613-271-4254
  • Holy Trinity High School – 613-591-9955
  • St. Matthew High School – 613-837-3161
  • St. Mother Teresa High School – 613-823-1663
  • St. Patrick’s High School – 613-733-0501
  • St. Pius X High School – 613-225-8105

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Hospitality & Tourism SHSM

Is a career in the hospitality and tourism industry on your child’s horizon? Our SHSM program is a great way to find out! This growing sector offers employment opportunities in food and beverage services, recreation and entertainment and travel services.

Locations and contact

  • St. Patrick’s High School – 613-733-0501

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Information & Communications Technology SHSM

If your child thrives on problem-solving creative ways to improve efficiencies and communicate using technology, this SHSM program could be an excellent fit. Information and communications technology is an integral part of modern society and offers employment in a wide variety of areas including but not limited to graphic arts, telecommunications, computer and software engineering and more!

Locations and contact

  • All Saints High School – 613-271-4254
  • Immaculata High School – 613-237-2001
  • St. Joseph High School – 613-823-4797
  • St. Mother Teresa High School – 613-823-1663
  • St. Patrick’s High School – 613-733-0501
  • St. Paul High School – 613-820-9705

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Justice, Community Safety & Emergency Services SHSM

During pandemics, emergencies and public crises, we rely on those employed in frontline services to keep our communities safe and orderly. If your child is curious about a career in this field, our Justice, Community Safety & Emergency Services SHSM could be an excellent opportunity to explore potential career paths.

Locations and contact

  • Lester B. Pearson High School – 613-741-4525
  • St. Francis Xavier High School – 613-822-7900
  • St. Pius X High School – 613-225-8105

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Manufacturing SHSM

Is your child fascinated by how things are made and eager to be part of the process? They might enjoy exploring a future in the manufacturing industry! Our SHSM program is an excellent way for your child to learn about the industry that accounts for the most significant number of jobs in Ontario!

Locations and contact

  • All Saints High School – 613-271-4254
  • Notre Dame High School – 613-722-6565

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Non-Profit SHSM

If your child is passionate about social justice, fundraising, or charitable causes, they might enjoy our Non-Profit SHSM. It’s the perfect opportunity for your child to get a taste of working in the not-for-profit sector while still in high school.

Locations and contact

  • Holy Trinity High School – 613-591-9955
  • St. Mark High School – 613-692-2551

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Sports SHSM

If your child is interested in sports, our SHSM program could be a great way to deepen their high school experience! Your young sports fan might find joy engaging in or watching a sport, but have they ever considered the endless career opportunities connected to this industry?

Locations and contact

  • Lester B. Pearson High School – 613-741-4525
  • St. Mark High School – 613-692-2551

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Transportation SHSM

Is your child interested in various transportation modes like air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline or space? Our transportation SHSM prepares your child for a career in the transportation industry that could lead to a host of career options!

Locations and contact

  • Holy Trinity High School – 613-591-9955
  • Lester B. Pearson High School – 613-741-4525
  • St. Francis Xavier High School – 613-822-7900
  • St. Matthew High School – 613-837-3161
  • St. Paul High School – 613-820-9705

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Contact your school to register

To register your child in a Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program, you need to apply and fill out an option sheet at your home school. Contact your guidance counsellor or Lead SHSM teacher for more information.

Please note our SHSM programs have limited space. Priority is given to students based on geography, which means if a SHSM program is offered at your child’s home school, they would have preference over a student from another OCSB high school. It’s also possible for your child to attend a SHSM host school for one semester, and then return to their home school to complete diploma requirements.

Employers: help prepare your future employees

We’re always looking to strengthen our relationship with local businesses. If you’re interested in becoming a partner in our SHSM program, email info@ocsb.ca to connect with our SHSM Coordinator.

 

We’re looking for business professionals in the following industries:

 

  • Arts, culture and sports
  • Business
  • Construction, manufacturing and transportation
  • Health, wellness and environment
  • Hospitality and tourism
  • Information and communications technology
  • Justice, community safety and emergency services
  • Non-profit

 

How you could help:

 

  • Speak to a class, offer demonstrations or hands-on activities for students.
  • Arrange for industry certifications.
  • Provide co-op placements, job shadowing opportunities or give tours of your facility.
  • Partner with us to offer sector-specific activities to connect students with your industry.

Questions?

Still curious about our SHSM programs? Read our Frequently Asked Questions about SHSM. If you still have questions, please reach out to your guidance counsellor or SHSM teacher.

What percentage do I need in each course to earn a SHSM?

You need to pass each of the courses in the required bundle of credits.

I am already in grade 11. Is it too late for me to apply to a SHSM program?

Not necessarily. We do accept students who are entering grade 12 the next year if they have the required pre-requisite courses or are planning to complete these in summer school before grade 12.

If I earn a required certification during the summer, can I count it toward my SHSM?

Yes, as long as you have documentation showing the certification.

Can I take Co-op or OYAP without being in a SHSM?

Yes, you do not need to be part of the SHSM to take Co-op or OYAP.

What if I change my mind and don’t want to complete my SHSM

The SHSM program exists to help students identify, explore and refine their career goals, allowing a student to discover what they like doing, and just as importantly, what they don’t enjoy doing. If your interests change, you do not have to continue in the program—all credits earned in a SHSM program count towards completing a standard Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

Can I return for an additional term and complete my SHSM after I graduate?

Yes, you can complete your SHSM any time after you graduate. Upon completing the required components, you will receive an official SHSM summary sheet showing that you completed the SHSM (but you will not receive the Red Seal on your diploma).

I am a university-bound student who needs specific courses. How can I fit a Co-op course in my timetable?

You have several options. You can take co-op in the summer, OR you can take a grade 11 SHSM major course during grade 10. This will leave two credits open for Co-op in grade 12.

How is a SHSM recognized?

Students who successfully complete a SHSM receive:

  • an Ontario Secondary School Diploma with an embossed red seal.
  • an SHSM Record documenting his/her achievement.
  • formal recognition on his/her Ontario Student Transcript.
How do I register for a SHSM?

See your guidance counsellor or the SHSM lead teacher.

I am in grade 12. I have not taken some of the grade 11 courses specified in the SHSM pathway chart. Can I still get my SHSM designation?

You will not get your SHSM designation until you have completed ALL the courses in the SHSM pathway chart both in grade 11 and grade 12.

I am an OYAP student. Should I register for a SHSM?

Yes, it is strongly recommended that you register for the SHSM if your school offers the same sector as your OYAP. Many of your OYAP requirements will count toward your SHSM as well.

What happens if I want to switch to a career in a different employment sector?

Let your guidance counsellor know that you have changed your career goals. If a SHSM program exists related to your new career area, your SHSM can be switched to the new sector. (This may require a transfer to another school.) Some of the certifications and courses may also be used toward your new SHSM.

Can I register to be a SHSM student even if I am doubtful that I will complete all the required components?

Yes, if you are interested in a possible career related to the SHSM sector, you can register for that SHSM. Even if you do not complete all the components of the SHSM, you will still benefit from a certification training, field trips and other learning experiences related to the SHSM. You will also receive a summary of all your completed SHSM components when you graduate.

How are SHSM students at an advantage in their application to a university?

Many post-secondary applications to university have opportunities for supplemental applications. There are programs that traditionally require portfolios and/or interviews. Many of these are in the Arts, which would be advantageous for students in an Arts and Culture SHSM. Some programs in Radio and Broadcasting, Communications, Journalism and Architecture also require supplemental information. The SHSM qualification and associated training and certifications provide a distinct advantage for students applying for summer employment and university co-op placements.

Will earning a SHSM help me get into university?

At this point, universities do not consider the SHSM for admissions. BUT…the SHSM does provide a definite advantage for students going to university. It occurs when students are competing to obtain employment between terms at university. The SHSM qualification and associated training and certifications provide a distinct advantage to students when applying for summer employment or Co-op placements. These qualifications add to a student’s portfolio when going through job interviews.