Unlocking Opportunities: How Employers Benefit from Providing Internships for Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program Students 

Unlocking Opportunities: How Employers Benefit from Providing Internships for Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program Students 

If you’re an employer in Ontario, you might be pondering the advantages of offering co-op placements to students participating in the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP). Well, you’re in the right place because providing co-op placements for aspiring apprentices can bring many benefits to your business. 

Why Take on an OYAP Student Apprentice? 

1. Talent Pipeline 

When you offer internships to OYAP students, you’re essentially building a pipeline of potential future employees. As David Pope, OYAP Coordinator for Waterloo Region District School Board, aptly puts it, “Taking an OYAP student allows an employer to try a potential future employee before hiring them.” This provides a unique opportunity to assess the skills and compatibility of these budding professionals before making any long-term commitments. 

2. Skilled Workforce Development 

OYAP students are on a journey to becoming skilled professionals in various trades, such as plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, and more. By offering internships, you play a crucial role in their training. As Pope highlights, “We provide the required PPE, and if needed, students also receive their Working at Heights training before their placement starts too.” This ensures that interns are well-prepared and equipped with the necessary safety training to contribute effectively to your workforce. 

3. Fresh Perspectives 

OYAP students bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to your workplace. They are typically young, tech-savvy, and have recently learned the latest techniques and technologies in their respective trades. As Pope emphasizes, this allows employers to participate in the apprenticeship process, benefiting from the enthusiasm and creativity of these young minds. 

4. Cost-Effective Labor 

Hiring interns can be a cost-effective way to meet your workforce needs. Since OYAP students are in the early stages of their training, you can offer them internships at a lower wage than fully qualified professionals. Pope points out that “there’s no obligation to pay or hire a student,” making it a mutually beneficial arrangement where employers save on labor costs while students gain valuable experience. 

5. Mentorship Opportunities 

Offering internships allows your experienced employees to become mentors. This benefits both your seasoned staff, who can pass on their knowledge and skills, and the students, who learn from experienced professionals. Pope emphasizes that “training apprentices hones a journeyperson’s skills,” indicating the positive impact of mentorship on the development of both interns and seasoned workers. 

6. Community Engagement 

Providing internships for OYAP students demonstrates your commitment to the local community. It shows that you support education and youth development. Pope’s insights highlight that employers participating in the OYAP process contribute to the community by actively engaging in the apprenticeship process and fostering the growth of skilled trades. 

7. Pre-qualified Future Hires 

Internships give you a chance to assess the skills, work ethic, and compatibility of potential future hires. Pope notes that OYAP students participating in apprenticeships “don’t count towards the apprenticeship ratio during their Co-op placement.” This unique aspect ensures that employers have the flexibility to evaluate interns without impacting their existing apprenticeship ratios. 


In conclusion, providing internships for students in the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program is not just a service to them. Employers benefit from a potential talent pipeline, skilled workforce development, fresh perspectives, cost-effective labor, mentorship opportunities, community engagement, and pre-qualified future hires. By offering these opportunities, you’re investing in your business and contributing to the growth of the skilled trades in Ontario. So, if you’re an employer in the province, consider tapping into the potential of OYAP interns to unlock a brighter future for both your business and aspiring apprentices.