Ongoing Project:

Pathways of Youth with Refugee Experience in Nova Scotia

Researchers: Ifeyinwa Mbakogu1 and Emily Pelley2
Affiliation: Nova Scotia Office of Immigration, Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education1 and Dalhousie University2
Research Partner: ISANS
Keywords: refugee youth, employment trajectories, school to work transition, integration, services, Nova Scotia, qualitative research, participatory research


Objective: This study aims to understand the challenges that youth with refugee experience (YRE) face in making the school-to-work transition, specifically looking at Government-Assisted Refugees (GARs) and Privately Sponsored Refugees (PSRs) living both within an urban area, Halifax, and in rural areas in Nova Scotia.

Justification: Research shows that YRE face many barriers and challenges when attempting to enter the workforce. This study will adopt an intersectional framework to further our understanding of the impact of structural and personal factors peculiar to individual YRE on their resettlement, access to services, and long-term economic goals while recognizing their voice and experiential contribution to policymaking.

Practical goal: to understand the experience of YRE with available services, particularly those leading to employment; to better understand the link between pre-migration experiences and access to services; to identify the link between programs and accessibility across GARs and PSRs; to ensure YRE are more knowledgeable of available services and resources; and to project the voices of YRE service users to inform policies and programmes that better meet their needs.

Primary audience: policy makers, service providers, and refugee youth


This study will use a purposive sampling strategy to allow for a representative sample of respondents across gender, age, locality, education that highlight gaps to service provision and obstacles to service use across GAR and PSRs. Ten youth with refugee experience (YRE), aged 18 to 25 will be sampled from within Halifax and ten YRE within the same age range will be sampled from outside of Halifax. The research will adopt participatory, qualitative research tools involving personal interviews and focus groups discussions. Questions will be open-ended and flexible as directed by participants needs and comfort with sharing their experiences. Considering that research may constitute difficult conversations/memories for participating youths, the researchers will incorporate art-based trauma supported tools or media that allow for gradual interaction and sharing by participants.

This study asks the following questions:

  1. What is the experience of participants with available services, particularly those leading to employment?

  2. What factors are likely to increase positive long-term economic goals across participants?

  3. How do the pre-migration experiences of participants affect their resettlement/access to services?

  4. Are their differences in access to programs/services across GAR and PSR?

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