Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program

Travis Biehn works on his doghouse during the Skills Ontario competition. 

The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) is a form of Cooperative Education that allows students to earn hours towards their apprenticeship. It is a specialized program offered to Cooperative Education students that enables them to meet diploma requirements while participating in an occupation that requires an apprenticeship. They are also considered to be full-time students and are therefore entitled to all school holidays unless mutually agreed upon by the OYAP sponsor and student. Students working outside school hours must be paid, and the sponsor will be responsible for WSIB. Since students are registered as apprentices when they participate in OYAP, they may be paid at the rate for apprentices as outlined in the Trades Qualifications Apprenticeship Act and/or the Apprenticeship Certification Act.

OYAP supports our Specialist High Skills Majors in Construction and Hospitality/Tourism as well as our dual credits in these areas. OYAP is a component of our Student Success efforts.

For further information, please visit www.oyap.com or www.buildtogether.ca

Ontario Trillium Logo
This program is funded by the Government of Ontario.

OYAP Initiatives

In May of 2022, STAHS students Travis Biehn and Dustin Sewell took part in the Skills Ontario Provincial competition with Travis Bieghn taking home the bronze medal. They won the northern division in early April and competed in the provincial championships against 19 other students from across Ontario. Both boys had to build a doghouse based on plans sent to them the morning of the competition by Skills Ontario. They had three and a half hours in the morning and three and a half hours in the afternoon to complete the task. They were not allowed to ask their teacher or anyone else for help or advice. The entire building process was live-streamed to ensure accountability.  

Travis Biehn stands beside his completed doghouseDustin Sewell builds a doghouse during the provincial competition.

In May of 2019, five teams of students in Grades 7 and 8 competed in the Cardboard Boat challenge. Students were responsible for designing and then building a boat out of only cardboard and tape. Once they built their creations, students tested them in the pool at the Kenora Recreation Centre.

Two tests were performed. The first was a race from one side of the pool to the other, and the second was a test to see how many students could get in their boat before it collapsed. Throughout the competition there were big smiles everywhere as the students had a blast in the pool.

Students jump into their cardboard boats as they get ready to begin the race.jpg Two students tyr to paddle using their hands in their cardboard boat.jpg
Two teams race to finish in second place during the cardboard boat races.jpg Students laugh after their boat flipped into the water.jpg

On May 7th, Isaac Fagnilli and Andrew MacPherson competed at the Skills Ontario Provincial Competition at the Toronto Congress Centre in Team Carpentry. Abigail Derouard and Keerstin Guinto competed in the TV and Video team event.

Isaac Fagnilli and Andrew MacPherson pose for a photo infront of the outdoor seat they created.JPG

In April of 2019, students in Grades 7-11 and Grade 6 students from Pope John Paul II School attended a presentation by Founder of KickAss Careers - as well as a Journeyman Ironworker and Boilermaker - Jamie McMillan.

McMillan spoke with students about getting involved in the skilled trades, as well as involving women in the field.

"There's a lot of students that aren't aware of these pathways, or take one that's not meant for them and they end up unhappy," said McMIllan. "They need to know that there are lucrative and successful careers out there for them."

"The skilled trades are still male-dominant, but things are changing. Employers are becoming more accepting of women in trades, and we bring a different creativity to the job site," McMillan added.

McMillan has been working across Canada in the construction industry since 2002, and has been speaking to students about considering skilled trades careers since 2006.

"It was really inspiring, and it opened up a lot of opportunities that I was aware of but had never considered before," said Grade 11 student Laura Polischuk. "It was really eye opening to all the different job opportunities and all of the things that you can do. They're trying to include women, especially in the skilled trades. I'm really taking it into consideration."

In April of 2018, nine young women participated in the first Women's Only Welding Workshop at the St. Thomas Aquinas High School's Multi-Skills Centre. Natasha Gunderson, a licensed welder introduced the girls to the trade. This initiative was supported through OYAP funding from the Province of Ontario. OYAP provides funding to promote trades in which women are historically under-represented.

OYAP student.jpg OYAP 3.JPG

Through our OYAP funding, our schools can affiliate with Skills Ontario and access their events. In the fall of 2019, events were held in Dryden, Ontario. These events allow students participate in hands-on activities related to the trades and hear from mentors working in the skilled trades.

 OYAP Students  OYAP Students
Due to gathering restrictions this year, we are encouraging students to participate in the Skills Ontario – Skills at Home Challenges. Lexi Barnard, a Grade 12 student at St. Thomas Aquinas submitted pictures of various nail designs that she completed with a Halloween theme. Lexi was awarded with a gift certificate for her beautiful work.

Nail design 1
Nail design 2
 Nail design 3  
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