Launching Careers: Navigating School to Work Transitions

Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP)

The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program is a government-funded program designed to help high school students explore apprenticeship and skilled trades career opportunities. It introduces the apprenticeship process at an early age to simplify the many complex pathways into a skilled trades career.

OYAP enables students to earn credits towards their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) by taking a cooperative education course (co-op) for which the community component is in an apprenticeship. For a prospective skilled trades professional, the primary value of OYAP is gaining exposure to a trade and its associated career possibilities. In other words, it’s a great way for prospective apprentices to get experience and ‘test drive’ a potential career.

So, if you’re in high school and already know you want to start a skilled trades career, there’s no reason to wait until you have a secondary school diploma in-hand. Through the OYAP, students in secondary school can become registered apprentices and start putting hours towards completing their apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship for OYAP Students

Infographic showing the steps to become a certified journeyperson in the trades in Ontario Infographic showing the steps to become a certified journeyperson in the trades in Ontario
  1. Complete a co-op opportunity in your preferred trade
  2. Finish Level 1 of your in-class training through your OYAP program (if available)
  3. Complete your Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) and keep accumulating your on-the-job training hours with your co-op employer
  4. Head to college and finish the remainder of your in-class training (if necessary)
  5. Complete all the in-class and on-the-job training hours
  6. Write your Certificate of Qualification exam (if necessary)
  7. Become a Certified Journeyperson!

    Your pathway may vary depending on your starting point (e.g., high school or college) and chosen trade.

The advantages of participating in the OYAP:

Cartoon drawing of a ruler

You'll get real, hands-on training in your trade of choice

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You'll build a relationship with your employer and you may have the opportunity to advance your training with them, such as through a full apprenticeship

Cartoon drawing of a certificate

You may be given the opportunity to enter a registered trade agreement (RTA), through which you can participate in more advanced work opportunities and even complete Level 1 of your in-class apprenticeship training – a huge head start for individuals still in high school


To qualify for OYAP, you’ll need to be:

  • At least 15 years of age
  • Studying part time or full time in high school
  • Be enrolled in a secondary school or the adult equivalent
  • Have earned at least 14 high school credits

Getting started

You can learn more about the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program by visiting their website. They can help you find and reach out to an OYAP recruiter in your region and get started.