Ontario is on a mission to fill its most in-demand jobs. The province has announced a new student apprenticeship program in Ontario that will allow teens to attend full-time workplace training instead of learning in the classroom.

Students in grade 11 will have the option to pursue an apprenticeship in the skilled trades and receive their high school diploma once they complete it.

The province is working to ensure that a Certificate of Apprenticeship is equivalent to up to 30 secondary school credits.

This initiative means “more students will be able to enter the trades faster than ever before” amid historic labour shortages in the skilled trades, said a press release from the provincial government.

In addition to this, Ontario wants to lower entry requirements for around 102 skilled trades which currently require a grade 12 education to get hired.

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There is a huge demand for skilled trade workers in Ontario — by 2027, the province will 72,000 new workers to build infrastructure and over 1.5 million homes.

By 2026, one in five of Ontario’s job openings will be in the skilled trades as tradespeople retire and demand grows.

“For far too long, parents and students have been told the only path to succeed in life is by going to university, which is simply not true,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, in the press release.

“When you have a career in the skilled trades, you have a career for life. Our government will continue to provide students with the tools they need to land well-paying and life-long careers.”

This student apprenticeship program in Ontario will allow teens to choose their futures and land well-paying jobs faster.