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Going too FAST? Ontario creating new pathways to skilled trades careers

May 8, 2024 | By Anthony Capkun

May 8, 2024 – The Ontario government is introducing new policy and legislative measures to attract more young people to the skilled trades, including a new apprenticeship pathway and an online job-matching platform.

Building on the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), Ontario is creating a new stream called Focused Apprenticeship Skills Training (FAST) that will allow students in Grades 11 and 12 to participate in apprenticeship learning through additional co-operative education credits while completing high school.

“We are proud to announce the new Focused Apprenticeship Skills Training program that will now allow students to take up to 80% of their senior courses in co-op education,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “This will accelerate entrance into the skilled trades, supported by the mandatory requirement for all students to take at least one Technological Education course starting this September.”

Graduates would receive a new seal on their Ontario Secondary School Diploma to signify their successful completion of the program.


Ontario also aims to make it easier to find apprenticeship opportunities by launching an online job-matching portal for potential apprentices, journeymen, and employers to network and share opportunities.

Additionally, the province is proposing legislative measures to reduce barriers to apprenticeship training for workers who have prior professional experience, but cannot meet certain academic entry requirements to register as an apprentice. This policy would create alternative pathways for people interested in the skilled trades as a second career if they meet alternative criteria (which could include minimum years out of high school, history of prior work experiences).

“The targeted supports announced today will break down barriers and pave the way for more people to discover rewarding and in-demand careers in Ontario’s more than 140 skilled trades,” said Melissa Young, CEO and Registrar, Skilled Trades Ontario.

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