Canada's private colleges offer 200 full scholarships to refugees

Canada's private colleges are donating full scholarships to 200 of the 25,000 Syrian refugees expected to arrive in the coming weeks.

National Association of Career Colleges to offer $2 million in tuition to 200 refugees

Private colleges have been told the breadwinner in many refugee families has been without work for years as he or she waited in camps for resettlement. (CBC News)

Canadian private colleges will offer scholarships worth $2 million to help train Syrian refugees for job skills, it was announced Monday.

Forty institutions, all members of the National Association of Career Colleges (NACC), are offering full tuition costs to help 200 of the 25,000 Syrian refugees arriving in Canada as part of the Liberal government's election commitment.

Serge Buy, CEO of the NACC, said there are more institutions joining up each day.

"You hear [the refugees] are coming and you know there's going to be a huge amount of need," he said, adding newcomers will need training if they are to integrate into Canadian society.

Serge Buy, CEO of the National Association of Career Colleges, said 40 institutions want to offer scholarships to Syrian refugees for job training. (CBC News)
He explained the NACC governing board invited experts to educate them about the needs of refugees at a meeting last week. 

They heard how many of the traditional family breadwinners have been without a stable job for years, Buy added.

"We felt we needed to do something, and the board took the principled approach to create those scholarships," he said.

Buy also said the colleges want to show the federal government that private institutions, which are not tax-payer funded, want to be part of the solution as the need continues "because we have expertise in assessing skills, as well as language and job training." 

Some private colleges are also offering free ESL (English as a second language) courses. Universities across the country such as the University of Ottawa have also been offering resources including free tuition. 

It's really nice to see these (organizations) coming out and opening their arms to welcome these refugees.- Yan Zawisza, Refugee 613

Yan Zawisza  — a founding member of the Ottawa group Refugee 613 -- said contributions by educational institutions are critical to the long term success of the Syrian refugees in Canada.

"It's really nice to see these various organizations — universities, colleges, schools boards — coming out and opening their arms to welcome these refugees," said Zawisza.

Buy said students will be eligible for scholarships following a skills assessment, ESL programs and will also have to meet the entry requirements of the programs they choose.


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