Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

The School-to-Work Transitions of Newcomer Youth in Canada

Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

The School-to-Work Transitions of Newcomer Youth in Canada

Article excerpt

Abstract

Over half of all migrants to Canada are under 29 years of age and one quarter arrive as refugees. Studies on occupational achievements and labour market status have been largely ignored in favour of studies on adult migrants rather than on youth. This paper uses data collected from two sources: a national study of newly-arrived newcomer youth living in Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg and Vancouver using qualitative interviews, and a quantitative analysis of the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada (LSIC). The focus of this paper is to use these datasets to better understand the high school trajectory of recently arrived newcomer youth and compare their experiences. We are particularly interested in the influence of education attained in Canada compared to education attained outside of Canada and the differences, if any, in labour market outcomes. The findings reveal distinctly slower trajectories through high school among those arriving as refugees, those lacking English or French language instruction prior to arrival, and issues with grade placement. These are identified as significant barriers to entering post-secondary education and to subsequent labour market success.

Resume

Parmi les immigrants au Canada, plus de la moitie ont moins de 29 ans et un quart sont des refugies. Les etudes sur ce qu'ils ont realise sur le plan professionnel et sur leur statut dans le marche du travail ont ete largement laissees pour compte en faveur de celles portant sur les emigres adultes plutot que sur les jeunes. Cet article s'appuie sur une collecte de donnees provenant de deux sources: une etude nationale sur les jeunes nouveaux arrivants qui vivent a Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg et Vancouver et reposant sur des entrevues qualitatives, et une analyse quantitative de l'Enquete longitudinale sur les immigrants au Canada (ELIC). Notre objectif est de se servir de ces donnees pour mieux comprendre la trajectoire scolaire au niveau secondaire de jeunes recemment arrives et de comparer leurs experiences. Nous nous interessons particulierement a l'influence de l'education acquise au Canada par rapport a celle recue a l'etranger et les differences, s'il y en a, pour les possibilites d'emploi. Ce qui se revele nettement, c'est une scolarite secondaire a un rythme plus lent parmi les refugies et ceux qui n'ont pas eu d'enseignement en anglais ou en francais avant de venir ici, et des problemes de niveau scolaire. Ce sont la des obstacles significatifs pour le passage au niveau post-secondaire et pour des chances de succes sur le marche du travail.

INTRODUCTION

School-to-work transition studies examining the experiences of Canadian-born youth are plentiful; few examine newcomer youth. The following paper is an attempt to shed light on this neglected group. One of the reasons we feel that little attention has been paid to this group is a mistaken belief that once the initial settlement "bumps" are over, it is easy to integrate seamlessly into school and work, particularly among newcomers who arrive in their teens or young adulthood. Despite youth fleeing situations of war, entering a new culture, learning a new language and adapting to a new society and education system, a prevailing assumption has been that few youth experience long-term adjustment problems in school and in the labour market when compared to adults. No doubt there is great resiliency among this group, but we know very little about what happens to them in the school and job market after they have settled in Canada. Our research attempts to address some of these gaps. This lack of attention to migrant youth is disturbing, given that this is a group that will contribute substantially to labour market growth in the next decade.

The purpose of this paper is to examine some of the educational and job search experiences of newcomer youth in their first four years in Canada. These four years could be considered the "short-term" stage of integration. …

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