Education and training
Two-thirds planned to get further education or training
For many immigrants, the key to labour market success depends on acquiring training in Canada and learning one or both of the official languages.
The survey showed that about 67% of the LSIC target population, or 109,300 newcomers, planned to further their education or training. As expected, immigrants in the younger age group were most likely to continue their education. Nine in 10 newcomers aged 15 to 24 years stated that they planned to get further education after arriving in Canada.
However, 70% of those in the prime working-age group of 25 to 44 years also expressed interest in further training, even though most of them had some formal education prior to immigration. About 42% of those aged 45 to 64 years also intended to continue their education in Canada.
The interest in furthering their education was highest among immigrants from Central and South America (82%). Fully 67% of those born in Asia and the Middle East and 66% of newcomers from Africa planned to further their training. A similar proportion of European-born immigrants (62%) also intended to obtain additional education or training in Canada.
Among the immigrant classes, refugees had the highest proportion of persons expressing interest in obtaining some training (79%), followed by the spouses and dependents of the economic class (75%).
Most immigrants believed that further education was important to their success in Canada. This was the case for 9 in 10 of the immigrants from Central and South America and the Caribbean, as well as Africa and Asia.
Most immigrants had university, language and job-related courses in mind
A university course was the most commonly planned type of education or training among immigrants. Four in 10 (or 43,400) new arrivals with the intention to further their education had university training in mind. About 3 in 10 (28%) cited language courses, and a further one-quarter (25%) cited job-related courses, workshops or seminars.
Half of all immigrants who had acquired a university degree prior to immigration were among those planning to further their postsecondary training after arriving in Canada.
In comparison, about one-quarter of immigrants with high school education planned to further their education at the university level.
University-level training was also popular among immigrants in the younger age groups. For example, 43% of newcomers aged 15 to 24 years who intended to obtain further schooling were interested in university-level training, as were 42% of those aged 25 to 44 years.
As well, 53% of the principal applicants in the economic class who planned to obtain training expressed an interest in pursuing university-level training, compared with 42% of spouses or dependents in the economic class, 27% of immigrants in the refugee class, and 23% in the family class.
Furthermore, 54% of newcomers aged 45 to 64 years who planned to get further education were interested in language training. Of the total immigrants admitted under the family class, 41% reported that they were also interested in language training, as well as 39% of the refugees who planned to obtain training once they arrived.
Job-related courses, workshops and seminars were the third most common type of training that immigrants wanted to pursue. One-third of economic-class principal applicants planned to take training intended to further their job skills, compared with only 23% of their spouses and dependents, 20% of the immigrants in the family class and 15% of refugees.
Nearly half of immigrants had started educational courses or training
Six months after arriving in Canada, 45% (or 73,500) of the LSIC target population who arrived between October 2000 and September 2001 had already pursued some kind of education, including language instruction. This participation rate was much higher than the Canadian average of 28% recorded in 1997, according to the Adult Education and Training Survey. (The Adult Education and Training Survey used a sample of the adult population aged 17 years and older that hadenrolled in training activities after completing their initial education.)
The majority (87%) of immigrants who had taken some training during their initial months in Canada had enrolled in only one course. Another 12% had taken two courses. Only a small proportion had pursued three or more courses.
At the time of the survey, English language courses were the most popular type of training taken. Of the 73,500 immigrants who had started some training, 58% had taken one or more courses in English language training. Older immigrants aged 45 years and older who were already participating in training were most likely to enrol in English language training (76%).
One in 10 newcomers who had taken training after they had arrived in Canada took some form of French language training. Of those who were enrolled in French language training, the majority (95%) lived in Quebec, while most (93%) of those who took English language training resided outside Quebec.
Overall, 28% of immigrants who took part in training had enrolled in one or more courses that led to a degree, diploma or certificate. Spouses and dependents in the economic class had the highest proportion (32%) enrolled in a higher education program. Immigrants who participated in this type of training also tended to be in the younger age group; almost 59% of immigrants between the ages of 15 and 24 years had taken one or more courses in a higher education program.
About 12% of immigrants had taken some form of job-related type of training. This was especially true of prime working-aged immigrants, 16% of whom had taken a job-related course, workshops and seminars. This was also true among economic principal applicants who had pursued further training, with 23% participating in job-related courses.
Language and lack of money were both hurdles in furthering education
Of the 108,900 newcomers who tried to obtain training after coming to Canada, 40% (or 43,100) reported at least one problem with the process: 27% of these immigrants identified language barriers as the most serious obstacle, while another 25% reported difficulties in financing their training.
Unavailability of courses, the third most serious problem, was cited by 11% of the immigrants who encountered at least one problem when trying to obtain further training. Another 9% said they didn’t have enough time, and 8% said their foreign qualifications were not accepted.
Among immigrants of all ages, those aged 15 to 24 years had the highest proportion (45%) identifying language barriers as the most serious obstacle. By area of birth, those immigrants born in Asia and the Middle East also found language barriers to be the most serious obstacle (32%). Language was also the most problematic area in furthering training among all immigrants admitted under the family class (32%), spouses and dependents or economic class (36%) and refugee (31%).
The cost of obtaining further education was of particular concern for immigrants from Africa, with 32% of those who identified at least one obstacle reporting this as their most serious problem.