A handful of incoming refugees will receive scholarships, worth up to $20,000 each, to study at Sprott Shaw College programs in British Columbia.
According to a release by the institution, the scholarships will be distributed to 13 colleges across the province and will cover full tuition, books, and certain fees for some programs.
“We want to help the newcomers from Syria in the most effective way we can to make sure they are welcomed, and that they can get high-quality education and training to find meaningful jobs,” said Patrick Dang, president of Sprott Shaw College, in a statement.
“Our intention is that the training they’ll receive with us will empower them to integrate into the British Columbian economy and fulfill the very real need for skilled workers that is predicted in the province in the years to come.”
Dang says those who win a scholarship may become prepared to enter jobs in the healthcare, early childhood education, trades, or business industries.
He adds that those chosen for the 13 scholarships will be “the most qualified applicants based on their readiness to enter the programs”. They might also have families that depend on them for financial support.
“We saw the plight of the refugees and the coverage was devastating. Being an immigrant myself, I know how hard it is for somebody to leave a country, let alone at a time of war, to rebuild a life,” Dang told Vancity Buzz. “We wanted to make sure that we could play a role in helping people rebuild life and we wanted to ensure we could make them productive members of society as quick as possible.”
The scholarship program is coordinated at the national level by the National Association of Career Colleges. The federal government is assisting Syrian refugees settle in Canada.
In addition to the scholarships, Sprott Shaw says it will offer the refugees with career counselling and post-graduation benefits from the institution’s Lifetime Job Placement Assistance Program.
The federal government will bring in 25,000 refugees from Syria over the next several months, with 10,000 refugees by the end of the year and the remaining 15,000 refugees by late-February. As many as 2,500 refugees could land in British Columbia over the next five weeks, specifically in the Lower Mainland.
“We want to provide the scholarship winners with industry-standard, in-demand skills that will help them integrate into B.C. workforce,” Dang added.
Coincidentally, a number of former refugees are currently constructing the new Vancouver Welcome House for the Immigrant Services Society of B.C. in East Vancouver. The new $24.5-million facility will have 130 beds and a number of social services.