New Oakville high school program helps students learn about electric vehicles


Published May 4, 2022 at 2:14 pm

With the move to electronic vehicles well on its way, Oakville’s Abbey Park High School is putting its students in the driver’s seat when it comes to learning about them and building their future.

The Halton District School Board (HCDB) facility has introduced a new Electric Vehicle Technology and Engineering Specialist High Skills Majors (SHSM) program for Grade 11 and 12 students.

The specialized program, which is approved by the Ministry of Education, allows students to focus their learning on a specific economic sector while meeting the requirements of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).
Mercedes-Benz Oakville, Kennedy Ford of Oakville and Niagara College have partnered with Abbey Park to offer the program that helps students gain sector-specific skills.

“The electric (SHSM) program here at Abbey Park High School is sort on an introductory to the electric vehicles that are now coming on the market and becoming more predominant on the market,” said Mark Rullo, a teacher at local high school. “We have partnered with Niagara College, Mercedes-Benz (Oakville), Ford of Canada and they’re kind of willing to work with us to get the students involved in the technology of the future.

“Everything seems to be going the way of the electric vehicle, so we figured we got to start getting the students into this and the earlier the better.”

The knowledge the students accumulate in the unique program will enable them to gain sector-specific skills in engaging, career-related learning environments and prepare in a focused way for graduation ​and postsecondary education, training or employment.

“I’m just really interested to learn about the automotive world, especially with the new electric cars coming in,” said Roxy Van Heerden, a Grade 12 student at Abbey Park. “It’s really great for the environment and shifting from gas-powered cars to electric cars.

“I just think it’s really a great skill to learn in life. It’s really great for the environment shifting from gas power to electric. It’s going to be great for the atmosphere and just being able to cut down global warming percentages a lot. ”


The SHSM program also addresses the Environmental Leadership area of focus in the HDSB’s 2020-2024 Multi-Year Strategic Plan.

“The way we’re able to tie ourselves to that environmental leadership is the fact that vehicles are obviously changing direction and going towards electric vehicles,” said Rullo. “The majority of vehicles, probably within the next 15 years, will be electric vehicles.

“By introducing this sort of program to the students and letting them see the vehicles it’s going to allow them to build on their future and become actual leaders in this sort of battle to switch everything over to electric for our environment.”

5 SHSM Program Components​

Together, these requirements provide the curriculum-based and experiential learning experiences for making a successful transition to a student’s chosen pathway.

  • Bundle of Gr. 11 & 12 Courses
  • Certifications
  • Reach Ahead Opportunities
  • Cooperative Education
  • Sector Specific Partnered Experiences in Math, Coding or ICE (Innovation, Creativity & Entrepreneurship)

Key Benefits for Students

Pursuing a SHSM enables students to:

  • Customize their secondary school education to suit their interests and talents
  • Develop specialized knowledge and skills that are valued by the sector and postsecondary education institutions
  • Earn credits that are recognized by the sector and postsecondary education institutions
  • Acquire sector-specific and career-relevant certification and training
  • Gain confidence in their knowledge of the SHSM Sector
  • Identify, explore and refine their career goals and make informed decisions about their postsecondary destination
  • Remain flexible, with the option to shift between pathways​
insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising