Four photos of students in uniform in art and science classes.

Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM)


Our Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) programs provide students with the opportunity to tailor their education at the senior level to their area of interest in a post-secondary pathway. ​They are provided with unique experiential learning, sector-specific certifications and training, and reach-ahead opportunities. ​Students register for these programs in Grade 10, and begin in Grade 11.

SHSM students receive specialized hands-on training, participate in workshops, attend College and University activities, and gain real-world experience through Co-op placements. All of our SHSM programs offer students:

  • Certifications and Awareness Training: Students complete selected sector-recognized certifications related to the major.

  • Experiential Learning Opportunities: Students have the opportunity to job-shadow industry professionals.

  • The opportunity to complete two (2) Cooperative Education credits and get work experience in their chosen sector.

  • The opportunity to see guest speakers and go on field trips to explore careers related to their field.

  • Sector-partnered experiences: Students engage with a sector partner to explore content, skills, and knowledge specialized to their chosen SHSM pathway.

  • Reach Ahead Experiences: Students get to explore the field and post-secondary education opportunities .

  • Preparation for their pathway to apprenticeship, college, university or work.

SHSM graduates receive a red seal designation on their diploma, as well as an impressive resume filled with relevant, sector-related experience and training.

The following SHSM programs are offered at James Cardinal McGuigan Catholic High School: Arts and Culture, Health and Wellness, Information Communications Technology (ICT), and Transportation.