Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program

Apprenticeship and OYAP



OYAP is a School to Work program that opens the door for students to explore and work in apprenticeship occupations starting in Grade 11 or Grade 12 through the Cooperative Education program. » read more


Attention STUDENTS! An apprenticeship in the skilled trades may be for you. Jump start your career now! more info



Attention EMPLOYERS! Build a pool of young motivated workers to fill current and future vacancies. » more info


What is the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP)?

The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) is a School to Work program that opens the door for students to explore and work in apprenticeship occupations starting in Grade 11 or Grade 12 through the Cooperative Education program.

Students have an opportunity to become registered apprentices and work towards becoming certified journeypersons in a skilled trade while completing their secondary school diplomas.

The goals of OYAP are:

  • To provide students with the opportunity to start training in a skilled trade while completing the requirements for an Ontario Secondary School Diploma
  • To enable students to make the school to work transition by direct entry into apprenticeship training
  • To provide employers with the opportunity to train the skilled workers they require
  • To provide a viable solution to address the problem of skilled tradespeople shortages in general, and specifically the lack of young people joining the trades.

How OYAP Works

The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) offers students a chance to attend school and train as registered apprentices at the same time. Students are able to complete their credits required for an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) and gain apprenticeship training leading to a Certificate of Qualification in a skilled trade at the same time. The program is available to students who are at least 16 years of age and who have completed 16 credits.


Students are selected for apprenticeship opportunities in the following manner:

  • OYAP works in consultation with the high school Guidance Department, Cooperative Education teacher and subject teacher in the identification of suitable candidates
  • Once students are identified, they are referred to employers for interviews
  • Students who successfully pass an interview are placed with the employer on a trial basis.


  • Workers’ Safety Insurance coverage (WSIB) is paid for by the Ministry of Education during the cooperative education placement period, as long as the student is not being paid a wage.


  • The student is responsible for transportation to and from the workplace (assistance may be available) at his/her own risk.

Other Employment Costs:

  • The employer may require the student to provide his/her own safety equipment, tools or other equipment. These costs are the responsibility of the student.


  • The student, Cooperative Education teacher or employer may cancel the workplace agreement, but there must be reasonable grounds for such a cancellation, and all attempts must be made to come to a solution prior to cancellation.

Employer Responsibilities


Employers play a vital role in the training of youth apprentices.

The employer is expected to:

  • Provide a working environment which focuses on learning and apprenticeship training
  • Provide a safe working environment which complies with health and safety regulations
  • Direct and guide student learning through on-site supervision by a qualified journeyperson;
  • Assess the progress of the student jointly with the Cooperative Education teacher.

The employer's participation helps the student:

  • Develop an awareness and appreciation of the skilled trades
  • Gain access to a career in the skilled trades
  • Begin apprenticeship training as part of a high school diploma; Make a successful transition from high school to the workplace in a skilled trade.
Employer Incentives & Assistance

In today's competitive economy, training is critical to the success of a business. But training can be expensive. Financially, OYAP participation can be beneficial to your business:

  • Through OYAP, employers are provided with the opportunity to assess students before committing to an apprenticeship.
  • WSIB coverage is provided by the Ministry of Education during the contract.
  • OYAP provides employers with information on where to access wage subsidies to assist with the initial hiring costs of OYAP graduates and summer students.
FAQs - Employers

Q:  Are students provided with Workplace Safety Insurance Coverage ?

A:  Yes. The Ministry of Education covers the student under WSIB during the work placement. This coverage is documented in the form of a Work Education Agreement (WEA), which is signed by the employer, the student, the parent and the teacher prior to the student commencing work. If the student is PAID, the employer provides the WSIB protection. 

Q:  Am I obligated to accept the student(s) after the interview process?

A:  The final choice is ultimately up to the employer. The student must fit the employer’s criterion as a potential employee. The employer is under no obligation to accept the student after the interview if the student proves unsatisfactory.

Q:  As an employer, how do I choose the employee to train the student?

A:  Selection is dependent upon your knowledge of your employees, and who would best suit the training role. The employer is also expected to interview the candidates and select the student that best meets the needs of the company. The OYAP Coordinator or Cooperative Education teacher could assist you with these decisions.

Q:  How are conflicts handled?

A:  If a poor attitude or negative behaviour is evident, please inform the OYAP Coordinator or Cooperative Education teacher as early as possible. All attempts to correct the situation will be made. If this is unsuccessful, the placement may have to be terminated. If there is an inability to learn or perform the tasks required, please contact the OYAP Coordinator or Cooperative Education teacher. The career choice of the student will be re-evaluated, and, if the situation does not improve, the placement will end for the student. If there is a personality conflict that cannot be mended, then the placement will be terminated and an alternative placement will be sought.

Getting Started

Employers who have qualified journeypersons in place who are willing to provide students with supervision and training may qualify for participation in the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program. 

In Ontario, there are more than 100 skilled trades that qualify. More specifically, any skilled trade listed under the Apprenticeship and Certification Act (ACA) or Trades Qualification and Apprenticeship Act (TQAA) qualifies.

Four Easy Steps to OYAP participation:

1) Contact your local OYAP Coordinator or high school. You will be guided through the process and any questions you may have will be answered.

2) You will then be provided with eager, committed students to interview.

3) You will select your student and provide a cooperative education experience.

4) If everything works out, you may choose to register your student as an apprentice

Facts and Figures


Labour Market predictions:

  • In the next two decades, 40% of new jobs will be in the skilled trades and technologies. In 1998, that number was less than 20%.
  • Many more people in the skilled trades are retiring than are entering the system. The hardest-hit industries will be manufacturing, construction, petroleum production and transportation.
  • The Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association forecasts a 42% vacancy rate for skilled trades by 2007, which represents nearly 34 000 jobs but only 20 000 skilled workers available.
  • The vacancy rate for skilled trades will grow to 50 000 unfilled jobs by the year 2010, according to the Information Technology Association of Canada.
  • According to Job Futures 2000, by 2007 more than one-third of jobs created in Canada will require a skilled trade designation or a college diploma.

Potential earnings:

  • Apprentices are able to combine in-school training and work which reduces their debt load; however, university graduates in the year 2000 often left school with an average debt of $19 500 (The Daily, National Graduates Survey).
  • Many skilled trades people now earn six-figure incomes with excellent benefits.
  • A journeyperson certificate can lead to employment that provides an income level that is 3% higher than the average income for all educational levels (Statistics Canada).
  • Although wage rates among the trades vary, more than 20 different trades can provide earnings substantially above average. For example, tool and die makers earn about 23% more than the average. Machinists can earn wages about 6% above the average, and electricians can earn 16.5% above the average (CFIB, 2003).