Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM)

What is a Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM)?

The SHSM is a Ministry approved specialized program that allows students to focus their learning on a specific economic sector while meeting the requirements for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) and assists in their transition from secondary school to apprenticeship training, college, university, or the workplace.

An SHSM enables students to gain sector-specific skills and knowledge in the context of engaging, career-related learning environments and helps them focus on graduation and on pursuing their post-secondary goals.

Every SHSM must include the following five components, which are outlined in detail in individual guides for each sector:

1. A bundle of 8-10 Grade 11 and Grade 12 credits that includes:

    • 4 major credits that provide sector-specific knowledge and skills
    • 2-4 other required credits from the Ontario curriculum, in which some expectations are met through learning activities contextualized to the sector
    • 2 cooperative education credits that provide authentic learning experiences in a workplace setting, enabling students to refine, extend, and practice sector-specific knowledge and skills

2. Sector-recognized certifications and/or training courses.

3. Experiential learning and career exploration activities within the sector.

4. “Reach Ahead” experiences connected with the student’s chosen post secondary pathway.

5. Sector Partnered Experience: Students connect with industry partner (3-6 hours) to have an experience that is related to innovation, math or coding.

*No substitutions for any required components are permitted.

How does an SHSM benefit students?

An SHSM allows students to experience a range of customized learning opportunities in an area that interests them, and helps to engage them in their school program.

An SHSM program gives students the opportunity to explore, identify, and refine career goals and make informed decisions related to post secondary education or training and next steps towards a career.

An SHSM helps students gain confidence in their ability to succeed, and see the connections between their studies, the world beyond high school, and their future careers.

he experiential learning opportunities provided in an SHSM enable students to develop Essential Skills and work habits that are required in the sector, and have their performance of those skills and work habits assessed and documented, using tools connected with the Ontario Skills Passport.

    • Through an SHSM, students begin to establish relationships and networks in their chosen field.
    • Students who have earned an SHSM can provide evidence of their achievement of the required components (e.g., sector-recognized certifications and training programs) to prospective employers and post-secondary educational or training institutions.

How is successful completion of an SHSM documented?

    • Successful completion of an SHSM is indicated on the student’s Ontario Secondary School Diploma by a red seal.
    • The student receives an SHSM Record that documents his or her achievement of the required components, including sector-related certifications earned and/or training courses completed.
    • Successful completion of an SHSM is indicated on the student’s Ontario Student Transcript (OST).

SHSM ARTS & CULTURE

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. This SHSM may be designed to have a particular focus – for example, on dance, dramatic arts management or technical production. This focus is achieved through the selection of the four major credits in the bundle.

SHSM HEALTH & WELLNESS

The SHSM–Health and Wellness 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. This SHSM may be designed to have a particular focus – for example, on health care, fitness, or child care and family services. This focus is achieved through the selection of the four major credits in the bundle.

SHSM TRANSPORTATION

The SHSM–Transportation provides students with a strong foundation for a wide variety of careers in the transportation sector, from those focusing on the service, repair, and modification of vehicles and vehicle systems to those related to the organization and management of transportation services and mass-transit systems. The SHSM–Transportation 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.

No matter whether you plan to go to work, apprenticeship, or college/university, you can earn a Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM). Specialist High Skills Major programs allow students to focus on knowledge and skills that are of particular importance to them. The SHSM symbol on your diploma lets employers and post secondary education institutions know that you have knowledge, skills, and industry recognized qualifications related to a particular career field.

This specialized program allows students to experience learning activities in the Arts & Culture, Health & Wellness and Transportation Sectors while meeting the requirements for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). This opportunity for students occurs in their grade 11 and 12 years.

At graduation, students who complete the SHSM requirements receive a special diploma with a ‘Red Seal’ as well as a records card that outlines all of the sector recognized training and certifications that the student has gained.