The Stay in Nova Scotia and Study and Stay in Nova Scotia programmes will provide individual support to students who are interested in working in the province after graduation, including mentorship, career skills and help finding roles that match their specialisms.
The two pilot projects, each accommodating around 50 students across all levels of post-secondary study, were devised to help boost the retention of international graduates. Federal and provincial governments and EduNova, a cooperative representing all sectors of the province’s international education industry, have partnered to launch the initiatives.
The two projects were devised to help boost the retention of international graduates
An estimated 2-3% of students currently stay in the province post-graduation, despite research showing as many as 74% would like to, given the right opportunities.
A target to increase the number of students who stay to 10% was laid out in the landmark One Nova Scotia 10 Collaborative Action Plan, published in 2014.
Fifty-two students have been selected out of 150 applicants for the Stay in Nova Scotia programme, representing 24 countries across a range of disciplines. The goal is to have 80% of the cohort still in the province one year after completion of the programme.
The programme launched with a retreat, which included workshops on skills such as working with a mentor and how to approach employers.
From now until graduation, students will benefit from ongoing mentorship from business experts.
EduNova has also partnered with a private sector recruitment firm, Venor Youth Employment, which will help match international graduates with appropriate roles.
Participating students will also be provided with a job voucher that will offset the cost to employers of hiring an immigrant worker.
“We’re hopeful that being a bit more explicit and supportive in that area may help raise our profile in India”
An additional 50 students will begin their studies in Nova Scotia next year under the Study and Stay programme, designed as a route for prospective students who already aspire to remain in Canada after they graduate.
They will receive similar support to the Stay in Nova Scotia participants and complete experiential workplace learning.
In its first year, the Study and Stay programme will be open to students in China, India and the Philippines – countries with strong existing trade ties with the province (in the case of China) or where there is the potential to nurture newer relationships.
“We understand that the reason many Indian students choose to study in Canada is for their potential long-term work opportunities, and so we’re hopeful that being a bit more explicit and supportive in that area may help raise our profile in India,” noted Wendy Luther, CEO of EduNova, which is managing both programmes.
There are plans to roll out the two initiatives to a larger cohort of students if they are successful.
“That’s going to be our next challenge, addressing scalability, because what’s of utmost importance to us is that we are delivering on our promise that every student who gets selected gets very personal support and finds meaningful employment,” Luther said.