Career & Education

Nova Scotia wants you!

Canadian province appeals to Caribbean students

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Senior staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, August 04, 2019

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NOVA SCOTIA, Canada — SEVERAL universities and colleges in Canada's eastern maritime province of Nova Scotia are encouraging students from Jamaica and the wider Caribbean to consider studying there, a move that could result in permanent residency or citizenship.

Fewer than a million people live in Nova Scotia, Canada's second-smallest province with a total area of 21,300 square miles.

Concerns about its ageing population have triggered the global recruitment of people, including students, in recent years. This has also led to the coining of the Atlantic Study and Stay programme for exceptional and motivated international students who are committed to living, working and contributing to communities in Nova Scotia.

As Michael Hennigar, director of international student recruitment and marketing at EduNova explains it, if upon completing their studies students have a desire to stay in the province, they can either work or set up their lives long-term.

“What we have found in our province is that the population of Nova Scotia tends to be getting a little bit older, people are having fewer children and so the population is ageing somewhat. In order to be a vibrant innovative community, what we've decided to do is to welcome primarily students to come to the province... Now, I'm not saying that you should come to Nova Scotia and stay here forever; certainly your countries don't want to drain the best and the brightest, but if you want to stay for some time, then the option is available to you,” said Hennigar.

He was speaking with guidance counsellors, students and the Jamaica Observer during the EduCanada guidance counsellors, students and media tour 2019 in Halifax, the Nova Scotia capital, on Wednesday.

Quoting a recent study conducted in Nova Scotia which revealed that approximately 90 per cent of employment vacancies in the province is hidden from view, the EduNova director said that international students sometimes have great difficulty finding jobs because of a decline in want advertisements in the newspaper.

“So you either need to have a network of people that you know and can call upon to help find that work or be within a company or sector of the economy where that information trickles down to you. For a lot of international students, in particular, this goes right over their heads. They don't have those connections and those communities or people that they can draw on when finding work,” Hennigar said.

The EduNova province-wide study and stay programme is a result of this hiccup, connecting final-year graduating international students directly to the labour market, helping them to build valuable employment skills, gain workplace knowledge and build meaningful and professional connections through workshops, networking and mentoring.

“Our goal has been to help 80 per cent of that cohort find jobs so that they can stay and access permanent residency in the province. When you graduate with a four-year undergraduate degree you're eligible to apply for something called a post-graduation work permit. That gives you the option to stay in Canada for up to three years after you graduate. It's not guaranteed; you have to go through the process, but there is a very high success rate for students.

“During that time, there are a number of pathways to permanent residence that exist and Nova Scotia's Provincial Nominee Programme is really great and if you get a year's worth of work experience under your belt in your field of study that qualifies you into some of those provincial nominee streams which essentially means that you are guaranteed to have the points to achieve permanent resident status,” he outlined.

The study and stay programme covers a series of workshops on various topics which includes how to write a resume, the language and words one should use when approaching employers, what to do during a job interview, what to wear, how to network and what to stay away from, among other things.

The programme is heading into its fourth year.

Hennigar said the first year recorded an 86 per cent success rate, with another six per cent moving on to the postgraduate level. In the second year, the rate dipped slightly to 84 per cent. He said that already, the third year has seen 54 per cent of students obtaining jobs, a figure which he expects to grow to around 80 per cent or higher.

“There is also a lot of support for students from the community in Nova Scotia. The Nova Scotia Office of Immigration did a study on people's perceptions of newcomers to the province and they said they asked the question, 'What is your opinion on this statement that immigration is a positive thing for the province of Nova Scotia?' So about five years ago they asked that question and 36 per cent of respondents said, 'Yeah, it's a positive thing'. Within two years, that number had risen to 86 per cent. I don't know many things that 86 per cent of people agree on, no matter what it is.

“I think that's a pretty telling statistic and we want you to know that Nova Scotia is open and welcoming to your students. We'll take care of them in every possible way that we can,” said Hennigar.

EduCanada is a collaboration between Canada's provinces and territories and Global Affairs Canada designed to promote Canada as a study destination or education partner to international audiences.


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