Saturday, July 20, 2019
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Diversity

How to build an educational plan to help newcomer clients succeed

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Though they are frequently overlooked, educational plans are often the basis for success for newcomers. A solid education plan outlines what is necessary to achieve the client’s career goals. Without one, newcomers run the risk of wasting time and money.

For internationally trained immigrants, an unclear educational plan can add to the challenges they face when looking for employment. Having their foreign credentials assessed, enrolling in courses, writing exams, learning and understanding the language are just a few things that newcomers must tackle to make themselves marketable in Canada.

Newcomers can improve their prospects by researching the labour market, aligning education and career, mapping out the educational and financial details, and paying attention to the additional elements that are going to affect them positively or negatively.

Researching the labour market

The labour market is different in every country. Therefore, it’s essential for immigrants to conduct thorough research into the labour market for the profession they want to pursue. Professions available in some countries may not exist in Canada and vice versa. Newcomers might have an idea of the job they want to target, but is that job in demand? Salaries might not be the same in Canada as the newcomer’s country of origin.

This research should include reviewing trends to see what it’s happening in the sector; taking note of the occupational outlooks for specific jobs; paying attention to the skills, qualifications and education that are in demand; examining the average salaries; and browsing websites like the National Occupational Classification.

Some clients may choose to take a particular route even if it’s a difficult one. However, you can help raise their awareness of the implications of their career decisions.

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Aligning education and career

Many professionals with foreign educational credentials and work experience arrive in Canada without a plan. They apply for jobs but aren’t successful, despite their education and experience.

However, for internationally trained immigrants who want to work in regulated professions, the path can be clearer. Each regulatory body indicates the steps needed to apply for a licence. For those who want to work in unregulated professions, the path can be more complicated.

Nevertheless, to improve their outcomes, newcomers can:

  • Conduct informational interviews and talk to employers hiring for the desired position. This is an excellent way to find out what they look for in resumes, what courses can be useful and what training programs they value.
  • Look at job postings. This is an effective way to discover what courses are required and the level of experience and education employers want.

Informed educational choices help clients secure the required skills and knowledge to develop their careers.

Mapping out the details

A high-quality educational plan not only outlines the best educational path but includes other critical details, such as school/college, program, courses, due date for fees, cost per semester/course, duration of the program and intensity of study (full-time or part-time). Also, it’s essential to include the client’s plan for financing their education.

For regulated professions, it’s key to know the process of each regulatory body, which is usually explained on the regulator’s website. This can help the client understand precisely the path they need to take. Also, clients can benefit from meeting other people who have gone through the same process, to get a better sense of the timing and investment.

Balancing life

As crucial as the educational and financial details are, paying attention to additional elements will help your client be successful.

Some aspects of the plan can have a significant impact on the client’s life. Finding child care close to school would be vital if they have children and take a full-time program. Other considerations are the length and cost of the commute to and from school; if they will be able to work full or part-time, if at all; where they will be able to study at home or school; and if they will need a laptop and the appropriate software or other specific tools (just to name a few).

Establishing relationships during this time is also valuable because the more connections the client has, the better. These relationships can be as a support system while the client is in school, but also when it’s time to find a job.

Closing thoughts

An excellent educational plan is one that is complete, accurate and includes all the considerations to take clients where they want to be. Working with a client to present the whole picture prevents newcomers from getting lost and frustrated during this challenging process.


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Hewton Tavares holds a master’s and a doctoral degree in education from the University of Toronto. His doctoral research focused on the role of mentoring as a strategy for the integration of immigrants in Canada. He currently works as a learning plan adviser at Windmill Microlending, a non-profit organization that provides immigrants and refugees with microloans for credentials and requalification purposes in Canada.
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Hewton Tavares holds a master’s and a doctoral degree in education from the University of Toronto. His doctoral research focused on the role of mentoring as a strategy for the integration of immigrants in Canada. He currently works as a learning plan adviser at Windmill Microlending, a non-profit organization that provides immigrants and refugees with microloans for credentials and requalification purposes in Canada.