Niagara College’s new scholarship program rewards students with SHSM credential


SHSM Scholarship recipient Alicia-Ann Husk pursues her passion for the culinary arts at Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute. The first-year Culinary Management student is pictured in the CFWI baking lab with two of her creations.

Pursuing a Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) in high school is paying off for new students at Niagara College.

This fall, more than 70 new students received $1,000 scholarships as part of Niagara College’s new SHSM Scholarship program. The scholarships were automatically awarded to 71 first-year students who completed SHSM programs in high school, achieved more than 75% in their required courses, and enrolled in a related program at NC.

SHSM is a ministry-approved program open to Grade 11 and 12 students, allowing them to focus on a career path that matches their skills and interests while meeting the requirements of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma. Students have the opportunity to gain skills with employers, skills training centres and at school; as well as earn valuable industry certifications.

“Our SHSM scholarships reward students who have taken the initiative to explore a career or industry sector while in high school and choose to pursue the same area of study in college,” said Dorita Pentesco, director of Marketing and Recruitment at Niagara College. “The scholarships acknowledge the value of experiential learning and the additional work students put into acquiring a SHSM.”

NC’s SHSM Scholarship program was applauded by representatives of two Niagara-based school boards.

Roy Smith, technical education consultant at the District School Board of Niagara noted that students involved in the SHSM program achieve greater success rates within the DSBN and, as a result, the program continues to experience tremendous growth. It currently offers 53 SHSM programs in 14 sectors.

“These scholarships provide students with financial support to help them succeed at the postsecondary level,” said Smith. “The DSBN is excited to further develop our partnership with Niagara College to continue providing students with real-world learning opportunities to prepare students for their career path.”

At the Niagara Catholic District School Board, Jennifer Pirosko, consultant of School College Work/ Specialist High Skills Major/ Health and Wellness Student Achievement, said that while the experiential learning focus of SHSM programs offer students a huge advantage in gaining a practical learning experience to solidify their career choice, it can be challenging to recruit for SHSM candidates due to the variety of opportunities available to students in secondary school.

“The new Niagara College SHSM Scholarships are an integral part of our presentation to students, parents and teachers when speaking about the benefits of enrolling in SHSM,” said Pirosko. “These scholarships are substantial, easy to earn and a great way of inviting students to continue their education in a local post-secondary institution such as NC.”

The initiative is a hit with the students, who understand the value of acquiring a SHSM first-hand.

First-year Culinary Management student Alicia-Ann Husk, who completed her SHSM in Hospitality and Tourism at Robert Bateman High School in Burlington, said receiving the scholarship gave her a sense of accomplishment. “It proved to me that hard work and dedication pays off,” said Husk, who began taking cooking classes before enrolling in the SHSM program in Grade 11.

Husk believes in the value of the SHSM program. “It showed me that the path to being a chef isn’t just about cooking; it involves a big side of business as well as a sense of responsibility and organization,” she said. “It also helped to open up job opportunities; it helped me land a job in a restaurant and get experience before I started college.”

First-year Niagara College Welding Technician student Corbey Daniels, who achieved his SHSM credential at Governor Simcoe in St. Catharines, is another big believer in the SHSM program. “My SHSM showed me that being a welder is what I wanted to do as a career,” he said. “It pushed me to work hard at school and to improve my welding throughout high school.”

Niagara College has already expanded its SHSM Scholarship program for students applying for fall 2017. Offering scholarships to several different SHSM credentials, the college is now supporting students completing their SHSM in Agriculture or Horticulture and Landscaping; Arts and Culture; Business; Community Safety and Emergency Services; Construction; Manufacturing; Information and Communications Technology; Energy; Environment; Food Processing; Hospitality and Tourism; Health and Wellness or Sports; and Transportation.

For more info about NC’s SHSM Scholarships visit


Fall Open House visitors eligible to win $2,000 towards tuition

Prospective students who attend Niagara College’s upcoming fall open house will a have a chance to win a $2,000 award towards their tuition.

The open house will be held on Saturday, November 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the College’s Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake campuses. Visitors will have an opportunity to explore a variety of academic displays and demonstrations, tour NC’s program labs and classroom facilities, take a campus and residence tour, and meet with college faculty and current students.

Only those who attend the open house will be eligible for the contest. The winner will receive a $2,000 award applicable to 2017-2018 registration at Niagara College. The $2,000 will be credited towards tuition for September 2017, January 2018 or May 2018 towards entry into a new program intake. Registration will take place on site on Saturday, November 19.

There is no advance registration required to attend the Fall Open House and there is free parking for the event.
For details about the open house visit



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