Aboriginal Peoples Survey, 2012
The Education and Employment Experiences of First Nations People Living Off Reserve, Inuit, and Métis: Selected Findings from the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey
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Section 1: Education pathways
- In 2012, 72% of First Nations people living off reserve, 42% of Inuit and 77% of Métis aged 18 to 44 had a high school diploma or equivalent (“completers”). The 2011 National Household Survey data showed that the figure for the non-Aboriginal population was 89%.
- Among completers, an estimated 14% of off-reserve First Nations people, 15% of Inuit and 9% of Métis had left school at least once before obtaining their high school diploma. The majority reported they returned to school because they “realized the value of an education/wanted a diploma.”
- At the time of the survey, 28% of First Nations people living off reserve, 58% of Inuit and 23% of Métis aged 18 to 44 were not attending high school and had not met the requirements for a high school diploma (“leavers”). According to the 2011 National Household Survey, the figure for the non-Aboriginal population was 11%.
- While the majority of leavers dropped out once, 39% of off-reserve First Nations leavers, 34% of Inuit leavers and 32% of Métis leavers dropped out multiple times. Men commonly dropped out due to a desire to work, money problems, school problems, and lack of interest. “Pregnancy/childcare responsibilities” was reported by one-quarter of off-reserve First Nations and Métis women and 38% of Inuit women who did not complete high school.
Section 2: Experiences during last year of school
- Off-reserve First Nations people, Inuit, and Métis completers and leavers had different personal, family, and school environment characteristics during their last year in high school. For example, higher percentages of completers reported having good grades, while leavers skipped classes or arrived late more often. Completers participated more often in extracurricular activities and also read books more frequently, than did leavers.
- Higher percentages of completers reported having many close friends with high education aspirations—friends who thought that completing high school was very important and who planned further education beyond high school.
- In terms of family characteristics, higher percentages of completers had a mother and/or father with at least a high school education, while leavers were more likely to have siblings who dropped out of school.
- More completers had parents who were involved during their last year in school—parents who spoke to or visited their teachers, attended a school event, or participated in school activities—although this was only true among off-reserve First Nations people and Métis.
- Higher percentages of completers felt safe and happy at their school. Completers were also more likely than leavers to report having received support from school staff during their last year in school.
Section 3: Postsecondary education experiences
- In 2012, 43% of off-reserve First Nations people, 26% of Inuit, and 47% of Métis aged 18 to 44 had a postsecondary qualification; that is, a certificate, diploma or degree above the high school level. According to the 2011 National Household Survey, the figure for the non-Aboriginal population was 64%.
- The percentages with a postsecondary qualification were higher among high school completers. Nonetheless, 16% of off-reserve First Nations leavers, 12% of Inuit leavers, and 16% of Métis leavers had obtained a postsecondary certificate, diploma or degree.
- An estimated 40% of off-reserve First Nations people, 50% of Inuit, and 42% of Métis with postsecondary credentials moved to pursue their education. Those with a university degree were the most likely to have done so.
- The most common reasons why First Nations people living off reserve, Inuit and Métis reported not finishing postsecondary education were: got a job or wanted to work; lost interest or lacked motivation; pregnancy, caring for their children or other family responsibilities; and courses were too hard.
- First Nations people living off reserve and Métis also cited financial reasons for not finishing their postsecondary education. Other reasons included “having moved” for First Nations people living off reserve; “too difficult to be away from home” for Inuit; and “own health” for Métis.
Section 4: Current employment experiences
- A higher share of completers than leavers were employed at the time of the 2012 APS: 72% versus 47% for off-reserve First Nations people; 71% versus 44% for Inuit; and 80% versus 61% for Métis.
- Among completers, the percentages of men and women who were employed did not differ. This was also true for Inuit leavers. However, off-reserve First Nations and Métis male leavers were more likely than female leavers to have a job.
- For First Nations people living off reserve and Métis, the median employment income range for completers was $10,000 higher than that for leavers; for Inuit completers, the median income range was $20,000 higher.
- A shortage of jobs, a lack of education or training, and work inexperience were commonly reported as reasons for not being able to find work by unemployed off-reserve First Nations people, Inuit, and Métis aged 18 to 44. Other reasons included “no transportation available” for First Nations people living off reserve; “not knowing where to look for work” for Inuit; and “not knowing what type of work they wanted” for Métis.
Section 5: Further education or training
- Off-reserve First Nations, Inuit, and Métis leavers were generally more likely than completers to report facing barriers to taking further schooling. Such barriers included being too busy; available courses not matching needs; lack of confidence; taking courses not being a personal priority; cost; personal and family responsibilities; and personal health.
- Men commonly cited cost as well as training not being a high personal priority as reasons for not undertaking further schooling. Among women, personal or family responsibilities were commonly reported, especially by leavers.
- Two-thirds (65%) of off-reserve First Nations people, 55% of Inuit and 59% of Métis planned to take further education toward obtaining a certificate, diploma or degree. Among off-reserve First Nation people, leavers were more likely than completers to report such plans, while the percentages for Métis and Inuit completers and leavers did not differ. As expected, 18- to 24-year-olds were more likely than 25- to 44-year-olds to plan further studies.
- Off-reserve First Nations people and Inuit who were unemployed were more likely to have plans for further schooling than those who were employed or not in the labour force. Among Métis, plans did not differ by labour force status.