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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection

Youth Force
OYAP makes a positive impact

By Aunie Edwards
Special to the Toronto Sun

The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) allows students to apprentice in a skilled trade, gaining realistic career expectations, work experience and relevant professional connections, while simultaneously earning high school credits.
The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship program contributes to the Aviation Technology Orientation Course and its work experience program.

Those are OYAP's visible contributions. But there's another equally positive side to OYAP's impact. Through the success of this initiative, educators and business owners across the city have realized the practical genius of outsourcing education and presenting students with a combination of comprehensive theory, training and real life exposure.

The York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB), a long time champion of OYAP, has embraced the concept that the path from high school to post secondary to work should be smoothly integrated in order to maximize interest and increase the odds for a prosperous future.

Work program

This "OYAP philosophy" drives the Aviation Technology Orientation Course and it's work experience program. "This is a dedicated aviation course, unique to Toronto and open to all schools," says Michael Cino, teacher at St. Robert C.H.S. and co-ordinator of the program. "The kids begin with an introductory grade 11 pre-requisite course, followed by a more in-depth examination of aviation in grade 12. We're working with the YCDSB to expand the work experience component -- it's complicated because there are so many post-secondary options in aviation and the work must fit the ministry as well as industry guidelines maintained by the Canadian Aviation Maintenance Council (CAMC)."

For it's part, CAMC supports this high school course as part of a strategic plan to guide interested youth in an aviation career. Cino developed the initiative as a career awareness program. "A student may realize an aptitude or interest in aviation maintenance, engineering or pilot training -- we include all these careers in our exploration of the industry," Cino says.

Exposure to aviation is also gained through projects like glider design and construction, sheet metal development, flight simulation and radio communication. Cino values the work experience component of the program and credits the savvy and community spirited contributions of Skyservice Business Aviation Group, at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
  • The Canadian Aviation Maintenance Council (CAMC) is a not-for-profit association.
  • The council also maintains national standards for related skilled trades, develops certification programs, various curriculums and accreditation of training institutions and oversees recruitment and retention strategies for the future of aviation in Canada.
  • Becoming a member of CAMC is critical to becoming a certified technician in the field -- skills and experience are thus formally recognized by the industry.
  • If you are enrolled, studying or training in aviation maintenance, if you are working in the industry or have experience, you can apply for an associate membership with CAMC. Visit

  • Students spend one week at Skyservice, gaining an inside view of an airline transport facility. "The kids work with Skyservice employees, exploring aviation maintenance engineering, maintenance technician roles, avionic technician, ground service, parts, electronics and management positions," Cino says.

    This work-week is surrounded by innovative field trips and relevant guest speakers. "OYAP has proven the intuitiveness of involving education on all levels in collaboration with community," Cino says. "Guided by that premise, our curriculum is designed with the participation of all its partners -- we want to work with post secondary institutions and the industry to understand what kids need to be learning and we welcome professionals to share their expertise and experiences."

    Students can even take a flight lesson in a helicopter or small plane courtesy of Canadian Flyers in Markham. "It's amazing how this experience can decide the direction a student takes," Cino says.

    And Cino means what he says -- imminently qualified with a pilot license and automotive technician certification, this creative teacher has embarked on a plane-building project to be built by student volunteers in his course. "We're building a Zodiac CH601HD -- the kids have been instrumental in the success of this project"

    OYAP's influence has encouraged innovative and uniquely qualified individuals like Michael Cino to step outside the box and bring education to a new level of understanding. Beyond its philosophy, OYAP can also provide ministry backing to apprentice in specifically qualified fields. Visit or to learn more.

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