Ontario expanding dual credit program allowing students to earn college credits, do apprenticeship training in high school

Ontario is investing $4.8 million to expand the dual credit program which allows students to earn college credits and take apprenticeship training while still in high school.

The expansion is expected to benefit an additional 2,200 high school students.

“This expansion supports our government’s broader mission to fill the skills gap by better connecting and ultimately inspiring Ontario students to enter these good-paying jobs,” said Education Minister Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “By placing a real emphasis on life and job skills like coding, financial literacy and budgeting, along with more hands-on learning opportunities in the classroom, we are ensuring Ontario students graduate with a competitive advantage.”

Ontario’s dual credit programs support eligible secondary students to take college courses or apprenticeship training that count towards their Ontario Secondary School Diploma and a postsecondary certificate, diploma, degree or a Certificate of Apprenticeship. High school students taking dual credit courses benefit from a variety of college supports and services as well as the supervision and support of their dual credit teacher at their school. Additional Training Delivery Agents, including trade unions, will now be included in the delivery of Dual Credit Level 1 Apprenticeship training programs.

Approximately one in five job openings in Ontario are projected to be in skilled trades-related occupations by 2026. With one in three journeypersons today being over 55 years of age, the next generation of workers must emerge to fill critical labour shortages. Currently, 100,000 construction trades workers will be needed by the end of the decade. 

The government is also expanding the dual credit program to attract 420 students over two years into Early Childhood Education career pathways, which is critical to ensuring qualified workers enter the sector as demand rises following the implementation of Ontario’s plan to improve affordability and accessibility.

For the 2023-24 school year the dual credit program expansion will include an additional 400 students in apprenticeship in-class training, 400 students in technological education college courses and 180 students in Early Childhood Education college courses.

The expansion of the dual credit program is part of the next steps in Ontario’s Plan to Catch Up and ensures students have exposure and access to learning opportunities to consider skilled trades as a future career.

Since 2017-18, the number of students participating in the dual credit program, with a skilled trades and technology focus increased by approximately 84 per cent. According to the Dual Credit Students and their Transition to College 2021 report by Ontario College Application Service, almost 93 per cent of all dual credit applicants received an offer to attend college compared to 86 per cent of all students.

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