Specialist High Skills Major

click for larger image and more info"Get your career in gear!"

Why Become a SHSM Student?

  • bundles your interests and talents with a customized high school education by relating all your subjects towards your specialty.
    • specific industry recognized experiences, skills building, career training, and certifications while still enrolled in your secondary school.
    • the opportunity to identify, explore, and refine career goals, and to make informed decisions about your future.

    West Elgin Secondary offers Specialist High Skills Major in 2 Main Areas:


Agriculture Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM)

The Agriculture Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program is designed to provide students with sector recognized learning and skills that are advantageous for success in the workplace and post secondary education destinations. The SHSM will be an effective enabler and support for strengthening student engagement and success in secondary school through to graduation and in post secondary transition. It will result in student earning and Agriculture SHSM with their OSSD if they complete the five required components.

  1. A bundle of credits identified in the sector specific guide in one of the four pathway destinations: apprenticeship, work, college, and university
  2. Sector recognized certifications and training
  3. Experiential learning opportunities
  4. Use of the Ontario Skills Passport
  5. Reach ahead experiances

Benefits to students

  • an increase in student engagement
  • building on strengths and interests
  • helping students plan for the future
  • make a successful post secondary transition
  • increase co-operative educational placements
  • safe workplace experiences
  • meet and work with agricultural partners
  • make informed career decisions

Requirements of the SHSM:

  • 8-10 required credits as identified by the Ministry of Education
  • "Major" credits in the SHSM sector area which provide sector specific knowledge, technical skill, and training
  • Other required credits in English and Mathematics delivered in the context of this SHSM sector
  • Earn recognized safety awareness and sector specific certifications
  • Engage in experiential learning through job shadowing, work experience, and Co-operative education-a minimum of 2 credits directly linked to the SHSM
  • Use of the Ontario Skills Passport (OSP) to document demonstration of essential skills and work habits
  • Engage in reach-a-head experiences which can range from a few hours to a few weeks experience at farm show, colleges, and in other settings.



West Elgin Environmental Leadership Program

The Environmental Leadership Program offered at West Elgin Secondary School is a 2 credit program integrating Grade 12 Environment and Resource Management (Geography) and Grade 12 Spatial Technologies in Action(Geography)


The ELP integrates focus on natural ecosystems in areas of Aquatics, Soils, Wildlife Conservation and Forestry AND develops students’ ability in the use of computer-based technologies to create maps, charts, and graphs.


Students will be provided with participation in a variety of experiential learning activities both in the classroom and in the field to engage students’ interest. 


Studies and activities are also designed to develop self-confidence through a variety of hands-on activity based experiences and learn about leadership techniques, group dynamics and communication, organization and planning, responsibility, problem-solving and resourcefulness.


Students will carry these skills throughout their lives and with the acquisition of specific certifications, environmental skills, and outdoor training, will allow them to better observe and understand the relationships and human influences in the natural world to help increase their environmental stewardship.


In either case the SHSM program consists of 5 required components:

  1. A defined bundle of 8 to 10 Grade 11 and 12 credits
  2. click for larger image and more infoSector-recognized certifications and training courses/programs
  3. Experiential learning activities within the sector
  4. Reach Ahead” experiences connected with the student’s postsecondary pathway
  5. Development of Essential Skills and work habits required in the sector, and use of the Ontario Skills Passport (OSP) for purposes of documentation

Students who successfully complete one of these programs will receive formal recognition on his/her Ontario Student Transcript and an embossed red seal on their Ontario Secondary School Diploma. Students will also be given a Specialist High Skills Major Record which documents his/her achievement.

If you are interested in the SHSM Programs at West Elgin Secondary, fill out the Application Form and contact Mr. Van Dyk, Mr. Soos, or Mr. Burke in Guidance

Contact Us

© 2023 West Elgin Secondary School, 139 Graham St., West Lorne N0L 2P0. Tel. 519-768-1350, Fax 519-768-0534,, Superintendent: A. Canham  Trustees: M. Ruddock, B. Smith