Ongoing Project:

School-Work Transition Barriers for Newcomer Youth

Researchers: Erika Goble1, Lisa Rochman1, and Sudi Barre2
Affiliation: NorQuest College1 and the Alberta Somali Community Centre (ASCC)2
Research Partner: ACSS
Keywords: newcomer youth, school to work transition, economic integration, employment, barriers, mentorship, qualitative research


Objective: This study aims to explore the barriers faced by newcomer youth who are ready to make the transition from school to work, and to better understand how some newcomer youth are able to overcome these barriers. This study will also include an investigation into the current mentorship practices of both ASCC and NorQuest to identify best practices and areas for improvement.

Justification: Many newcomer youth experience series challenges during their transition from school to work. Research indicates that these barriers include racism, communications skills, lack of financial literacy, limited work experience, and lack of mentorship. However, there are also many newcomer youths who successfully make the school-work transition and become fully integrated into the Canadian economy.

Practical goal: To enable ASCC and the broader newcomer support community to better mentor and coach newcomer youth to create positive school-work transitions on an ongoing basis, and to inform policy regarding breaking down school-work transition barriers.

Primary audience: service providers, academics, policy makers, and newcomer youth


This study will be conducted in a number of systematic phases that include: interviewing successful and struggling newcomer youth; reviewing current ASCC and NorQuest mentorship practices; analysis and merging data and identifying key issues and potential areas for improvement (both immediate, such as changes in mentorship practices, and long-term, such as policy changes); development and delivery of a mentorship session for at least 20 newcomer youth; 3 month follow-up impact survey; and final results analysis and reporting. Qualitative research methods will be employed. Through an interpretive description approach, researchers will explore the experiences of newcomer youth and create an in-depth understanding of school-work barriers and solutions by conducting detailed interviews with ASCC current and past youth clients, and current mentorship best practices used by supporting organizations. To ensure the high quality of the data collected, interviews will be conducted in the language the participants prefer (potentially involving translators).

This study asks the following questions:

  1. What unique barriers are encountered by newcomer youth during their school-work transition?

  2. What tactics and strategies are used by newcomer youth who have created successful school-work transitions?

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