The Ontario government is implementing a new high school graduation requirement it says will help better prepare students across the province for the jobs of tomorrow. Starting with students entering Grade 9 in September 2024, all students will now be required to earn a Grade 9 or 10 Technological Education credit as part of their Ontario Secondary School Diploma.
“I am proud to announce another step forward to ensure all students learn the critical skills necessary to succeed and get a good paying job,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “By requiring students to take at least one Technological Education credit in high school, we are opening up doors and creating new pathways to good jobs in STEM and the skilled trades. All students will benefit from a greater emphasis on hands-on learning experiences and technical skills in the classroom so they can graduate with a competitive advantage in this country.”
Ontario’s Technological Education curriculum covers a broad range of sectors, including construction, transportation, manufacturing, computer technology, hospitality and communication. Males make up more than 70 per cent of workers in trades-related occupations in the province. The government sees the new mandatory graduation curriculum requirement as an additional doorway that may entice more young women to pursue a career in the trades.
While almost 39 per cent of Ontario secondary school students were enrolled in a Technological Education course in 2020-21, nearly 63 per cent were male students.
“For Ontario to succeed, we need more women and girls to pursue fulfilling careers in the skilled trades. I am proud our government is taking action to ensure students across our province have the tools and skills they need to build a new generation of prosperity in Ontario,” said Charmaine Williams, Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity. “This mandatory graduation requirement means a brighter future – not just for Women and Girls – but for our entire province.”
This new graduation requirement builds upon other actions taken by the government to bolster its Skilled Trades Strategy, including developing an accelerated Grade 11 to apprenticeship pathway for students to get into the skilled trades faster.
“Ontario is facing the largest labour shortage in a generation, which means when you have a career in the skilled trades, you have a career for life,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “That’s why our government is taking an all-hands-on deck approach to attract and train our next generation of skilled trades workers for better jobs and bigger paycheques for themselves and their families.”
“The skilled trades offer in-demand, lucrative and rewarding careers and we believe the mandatory credit will expose students to opportunities they would not have known of otherwise,” said Jim Vlahos, executive director of the General Contractors’ Association of Toronto. “GCAT applauds the work this government continues to do to address our labour shortage while promoting careers in construction, including the skilled trades and to provide a healthy perception of the construction industry to help make an informed career decision.”