2023 Highlights Report

School-to-Work Transitions for Children and Youth with Refugee Experience

When transitioning from school to work, newcomer youth face a variety of challenges, including actual and perceived lack of Canadian work experience, lack of language fluency and basic educational qualifications, limited social networks, cultural differences, poor job search strategies, transportation difficulties, and negative stereotypes rooted in racism or cultural ignorance. Many youth feel they are forced into low-paying, low-skilled and demanding jobs, which negatively affects their mental and physical wellbeing.

“[W]hen I came here the system was different, totally different. … [T]o see that I have struggled for 2 years in a medical college and now when I was about to finish here is like I am back to square one … It was like, there was no point. … [L]ike everything’s coming to an end to me, because I value my academics a lot. And I’d like to study and I wanted to finish my career in medicine. But now it’s totally gone and I have to start from nowhere again. – Anyieth Maduk Manyuon, The Refuge: Starting Over – Refugee Youth and Interrupted Schooling


Goble and colleagues “School to Work Transitions Among Newcomer Youth in Alberta” (2022)
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Mbakogu and colleagues “Youth with Refugee Experience in Nova Scotia” (2022)
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Pathways of Youth with Refugee Experience in Nova Scotia

Researchers: Ifeyinwa Mbakogu1, Nabiha Atallah2, Praise Mugisho2, Emily Pelley1, Tatiana Portelli-Graham, Marwa Kuri, Chana Wielinga, and Lotanna Odiyi

Affiliations: Dalhousie University1 and Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)2

Research Partners: ISANS and Nova Scotia Department of Labour, Skills, and Immigration

This study looked at settlement challenges faced by youth with refugee experience in rural and urban Nova Scotia, with specific focus on youth’s access to services, experiences at school, and when entering the workforce. Interviews and focus groups discussions were held with 21 youth aged 18-25.

School-Work Transition Barriers for Newcomer Youth in Alberta

Researchers: Erika Goble1, Lisa Rochman1, Sudi Barre2, Benjamin Denga1, Alleson Mason1, Habiba Abdulle2, Evelyn Feliciano Mahmoudi2, Sagal Yusuf2, and David Burry1

Affiliations: NorQuest College1, and Alberta Somali Community Centre (ASCC)2

Research Partner: NorQuest College and ASCC

This study examined barriers and facilitators that impact newcomer youth as they transition to the workforce after participating in high school or post-secondary education in Alberta. Interviews were carried out with four youth from Somalia and Syria and five staff from ASCC and NorQuest College who supported newcomer youth during school-work transitions.