Nova Scotians question province's plan to retain post-secondary grads
Advanced Education Department says 95 apprentices have found employment in the province this year
Nova Scotians are questioning the effectiveness of the provincial government's plan to retain post-secondary graduates while a large majority is not aware of new programs aimed at keeping grads in the province, a study commissioned by the government says.
The study conducted by Corporate Research Associates in May 2014 found that 63 per cent of the 400 people surveyed anticipated that new programs would only achieve moderate success at retaining graduates.
Respondents were asked to rate the anticipated effectiveness of the programs from one to 10, one being not at all effective and 10 being very effective. The survey said 18 per cent of people gave a score between one and three, while 19 per cent gave a score between eight and 10.
The survey, obtained by The Canadian Press through access to information legislation, said a large majority of people were not aware of a number of the government's new programs targeted at keeping postgraduates in the province.
Those include programs like modernizing the apprentice program, offering new graduate scholarships and expanding summer employment opportunities for students.
The study also said residents were not optimistic about the employment opportunities for college and university graduates.
Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan said the government is working to change the attitudes about employment opportunities and the government's programs, adding that they are achieving their intended goals.
Plan to eliminate interest on student loans known
"They're doing exactly what we want them to do," said Regan. "What we heard from young people was that they would stay in Nova Scotia if they had a job, so we have been focusing on that."
The province has registered 1,115 new apprentices in the last year under the modernized apprenticeship program, bringing the total number of apprentices to 5,941, department spokeswoman Chrissy Matheson said in an email.
Matheson said 95 apprentices have found employment in the province this year under a new government program that connects unemployed graduates or apprentices with jobs.
She said 418 Nova Scotians have found jobs under that same program this fiscal year.
Regan said the government has carried out extensive social media campaigns aimed at informing young people about their options.
"We've been focusing our efforts on where young people would be looking for information," said Regan.
She said that although there were people who did not know about some of the province's new programs to retain graduates, most respondents knew about the province's plan to eliminate interest on student loans.
"That, I believe, is because we did a really good job on our social media campaign, because that's where young people are getting their information," said Regan.
The Advanced Education Department said as of Dec. 31, 4,183 people have been approved to pay no interest on the provincial portion of their student loans.
The survey asked 400 Nova Scotia residents between the ages of 18 and 65 in May 2014 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.