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Specialist High Skills Major – Sports


The Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) in Sports enables students to build a foundation of sector-focused knowledge and skills before graduating and entering apprenticeship training, college, university, or an entry-level position in the workplace.


Where local circumstances allow, boards may elect to offer one or more variants of the SHSM in a given sector, each with a particular area of focus. This SHSM may be designed to have a particular focus – for example, on competitive and recreational sports, sports management, or sports media and broadcasting. This focus is achieved through the selection of the four major credits in the bundle.


A bundle of nine Grade 11 and Grade 12 credits


These credits make up the bundle:

  • four sports major credits that provide sector-specific knowledge and skills. The four courses must include at least one Grade 11 and one Grade 12 credit, and may include one cooperative education credit related to the sector. This cooperative education credit would be additional to the two that are required in the bundle; see below);
  • three other required credits from the Ontario curriculum, in each of which some expectations must be met through a contextualized learning activity (CLA) for the sports sector. The three credits include:
    • one in English;1
    • one in mathematics; and
    • one in science or business studies or social sciences and humanities (or a cooperative education credit related to the sector, which would be additional to the two cooperative education credits required in the bundle; see below);
  • two cooperative education credits that provide authentic learning experiences in a workplace setting, enabling students to refine, extend, apply, and practice sector-specific knowledge and skills.

Note: that a compulsory English credit is required in Grade 11 and in Grade 12 for graduation with an OSSD. Schools may determine whether the CLA, required

Sector-recognized certifications and/or training courses/programs

This SHSM sector requires students to complete a specified number of compulsory and elective sector-recognized certifications and/or training courses/programs, as indicated in the following table.


NOTE: Where an item in the table is capitalized, it is the proper name of the specific certification or training course/program that is appropriate for the SHSM. Where an item is lower cased, it is the name of an area, type, or category of training for which specific certifications or training courses/programs should be selected by the school or board. The requirements are summarized in the table below.


Three (3) compulsory

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Level C – includes automated external defibrillation (AED)

Standard First Aid

Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) – generic (i.e., not site-specific) instruction


Three (3) electives from the list below

advanced training in a technique (e.g., fundamental skills in sport, fundamental movement skills, paddling technique, Spinning)

anti-oppression and allyship training

coaching – performance

coaching – theory

communication skills

compass/map/global positioning system (GPS)

concussion awareness

conflict resolution

customer service

equity and inclusion


ethical considerations

event coordination

geographic information system (GIS)

group dynamics

health and safety – basic


 incident management

instructor certification

leadership skills

life-saving (Bronze Cross or higher)

marine safety/marine first aid


personal training

Pleasure Craft Operator

portfolio development

project management

risk management

sector-specific software 1

sport nutrition

sport program design

sports team trainer certification

Experiential Learning & Career Exploration


Experiential learning and career exploration opportunities relevant to the sector might include the following:

  • one-on-one observation of a cooperative education student at a placement in the sports sector (an example of job twinning)
  • a day-long observation of an employee in the sports sector (an example of job shadowing)
  • a one- or two-week work experience with a member of an industry association or a professional in the sector (an example of work experience)
  • a volunteer experience at a community sports facility or at a professional sports team event
  • an experience coaching an elementary school student or team in an extracurricular activity
  • participation in an exercise class at a fitness facility
  • a tour of an athletic facility
  • attendance at a sports sector career fair


Sector Partnered Contextualized Experience (SPCE)


Innovative, Creativity & Entrepreneurship Training (ICE)

The ICE training in SHSM programs will allow students to understand the world from the perspectives of others, generate new ideas, and give students the confidence to develop strategies to implement and sustain their ideas while considering the impacts and consequences their innovation has on the world around them.




Sector-delivered Contextualized Coding

(e.g. SHSM-Agriculture:  GPS, GIS, Computer-controlled Devices with Ontario Federation of Agriculture)




Sector-delivered Contextualized Mathematical literacy

(e.g. SHSM-Horticulture and Landscaping: estimating, measuring, and budgeting with Landscape Ontario)


Reach Ahead Experiences


Students are provided one or more reach ahead experiences – opportunities to take the next steps along their chosen pathway – as shown in the following examples:


  • Apprenticeship: visiting an approved apprenticeship delivery agent in the sector
  • College: interviewing a college student enrolled in a sector-specific program
  • University: observing a university class in a sector-related program
  • Workplace: interviewing an employee in the sector


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