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Newcomers, immigrants choosing private career colleges to find work in Canada

Posted in Featured, Newcomers

Published on December 16, 2017 with No Comments

Sharon Maloney is CEO of Career Colleges Ontario, which represents private career colleges in Ontario that train approximately 43,000 students annually

The bright young engineer from Afghanistan who has moved to Canada for a better, safer life but can’t find work because her credentials aren’t recognized. The doctor from Pakistan who is driving a cab because he can’t afford to go back to school and feed his family at the same time. The Syrian refugee who wants to start a new life but first needs language training.

These are the students who are a part of Canada’s changing post-secondary education landscape.These are the students who are choosing private career colleges (PCCs).

A recent Canadian study, commissioned by Career Colleges Ontario and conducted by Environics Research Group with nearly 6000 PCC students in Ontario, found that over half of the respondents were first-generation immigrants.This is significantly different than the 13% of first-generation immigrants who apply to community colleges. Added to that, nearly 40% of respondents reported that their first language was neither English nor French.

The story doesn’t end there. Most students surveyed had previous post-secondary education and had chosen a program at an Ontario PCC for a better career or job, or to fast-track their path into the workforce.

Specifically, 56% of surveyed students born in Canada had previous post-secondary education. That number rose to 66% among those who were first-generation immigrants and had studied in another country.

This study is a first-of-its-kind amongst PCC students in Ontario and showcases significantly different student demographics than found in community colleges.

It indicates that PCCs serve as an important bridge to the Ontario workforce and in particular for women, new immigrants and mature students who otherwise would not be able to achieve their working potential.

Within the sector, we’ve known for a while that there are clear reasons why individuals choose a private career college education – and that our graduates represent different segments of students than found at university or community colleges.

Our schools, which are all regulated by the Province of Ontario, are uniquely positioned to deliver programs that help students find work or a better career by offering compressed program lengths, continuous enrolment, flexible scheduling and more hands-on training.

This benefits students who are studying while working, supporting a family or returning to school for additional training. In fact, the report tells us that 57% of Ontario PCC students are over the age of 30. Only 9% of students transition directly to a PCC program from high school, compared to 33% at community colleges. More than two thirds of Ontario’s PCC students are women – compared to 51% of students at community colleges.

Every year, more than 30,000 students graduate from high quality programs at one of Ontario’s private career colleges and put their new skills to work here in Ontario and throughout the country.

Despite this, we must frequently remind people of the importance of private career colleges in Ontario – and throughout the country – and defend them as a viable choice for students. That’s why we are particularly pleased to see in this report that nearly all of the students surveyed indicated they were satisfied with their education experience.

Private career colleges play a valuable role in Ontario and in Canada’s overall post-secondary education landscape. This new report shows that role is a specific and targeted one, in a changing environment for students.

Let’s ensure we protect choice for a wide variety of students in Ontario by recognizing the role that private career colleges play, training the workers employers need.





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