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Manitoba to Attract International Students to Fill Skills Gap

Source: The PIE News

In a bid to prepare for future changes in the labour market, the Canadian province of Manitoba recently published their Skills, Talent and Knowledge strategy for post-secondary institutions. The government hopes to make sure that education and training programs suit the needs of industry while students in the province are able to work there after graduation.

The provincial government hopes to improve the reputation of Manitoba as a top-tier study abroad destination in Canada as well as among the prairie provinces. It is currently the fifth most popular Canadian province for overseas education. While more than 21,000 international students were at Manitoba institutions as of 2017, both Saskatchewan and Alberta recently put forth plans to increase their own numbers.

The federal government hopes that foreign learners discover these provinces so different Canadian communities can develop and benefit from all the things that students traveling from abroad have to offer. Current statistics show that students from other countries are most attracted to major Canadian cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. A rise in numbers in other parts of the country would offer more balanced population growth and a solution to potential talent shortages in the years to come.

Canada Leads in Recruiting Foreign Students

“A degree from a Canadian university has worldwide recognition and opens many doors for international students after graduation, whether they choose to stay and work in Canada or pursue opportunities elsewhere in the world”

An expert on international graduate’s career outcomes in Asia believes Canada will stay a top destination for foreign students should it focus on employability.

Louise Nicol, director of the Asia Careers Group also suggested “With robust data on international graduate outcomes, Canada would be the first nation to put employability at the heart of their National Inbound International Student Recruitment campaign and lead the pack in terms of evidencing the return on investment of a Canadian degree.”

Nicol further adds, this will differentiate and maintain Canada’s growth in the international higher education sector during and following the global pandemic. She also referred to a recent article she authored on the shifting dynamics of foreign students in University World News.

The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada estimates that in recent years, international education has been Canada’s fourth-largest export sector, with international students contributing between $15 billion and $26 billion to the Canadian economy from tuition fees (which are considerably higher than domestic student fees), accommodation, and other local expenses.

In 2018, India surpassed China as the single largest source of international students in Canada. Over a 10-year period, the number of Indian students skyrocketed from roughly 5,000 in 2008-09 to 172,00 in 2018. In addition to India, several Southeast Asian countries – Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam – have been identified by Canada as very promising new markets for international students.

Overall, Canada’s international student population has grown six-fold over the past 20 years. In the last decade alone, it has tripled.

International employability is already a key part of Canada’s foreign student recruitment strategy said Cindy McIntyre, Assistant Director of International Relations at Universities Canada.

“A degree from a Canadian university has world-wide recognition and opens many doors for international students after graduation, whether they choose to stay and work in Canada or pursue opportunities elsewhere in the world,” said McIntyre.

“International students make excellent candidates for permanent residency, as they are usually proficient in at least one official language, have Canadian educational qualifications, and possess in-demand skills that can help address Canada’s labour market needs.

“Given these advantages, it is not surprising that 53,700 international students became permanent residents of Canada in 2018,” she said.

Source: Asian Pacific Post