Social Innovation and Bridging Programs for Internationally Educated Professionals
On one hand, Canada as a country faces the challenge of a skilled labour shortage. On the other hand, IEPs have difficulties in contributing to Canadian knowledge-based economy while employers arechallenged to more effectively tap into the IEPs talent pool. In overcoming these barriers and filling the gaps, bridging programs have been established and implemented at different levels. This research analyzes the case of the Gateway for International Professionals from the Chang School, Ryerson University as “one-stop shopping model” for IEPs migrating to regulated professions in Midwifery, Dieticians, Social Workers and more recently Accountant and Financial Professionals. The “one-stop shopping model” provides prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR), educational upgrading, professional specific language, communication competence, licensing examination and integration into the trained workplace for IEPs. Although each of the programs is specialized, isolated and temporarily funded, the Gateway created a “pan-professional model” including programs of PLAR and Professional Communication that provide resource for inter-discipline and inter-program supports. By acknowledging the multi-dimensional barriers facing the IEPs, the Gateway adapts a “two-way education model” that work with regulatory bodies and employers through networking and special workshops in order to bring systemic changes. The Gateway social innovation directly contributes to the IEPs in the areas of careers, family life, and social-psychological wellbeing. By doing so, it contributes to Canada’s socio-economy by maximizing the brain gain and prevents the “brain drain”, which was historically associated with under-developed immigrant-sending countries, but has lately become a major concern in Canada when a rising number of immigrant professionals are returning to their home countries due to the barriers of entering in the professionals that they were trained for. The findings of this research will advance our understanding of how the bridging programs work and what challenges the programs face, and what changes are needed to improve and enhance the programs. . The research results can be shared among Canadian Universities and other bridging programs for collaboration and optimization of the program’s efficiency, effectiveness, and social impact.
Keywords: Internationally Trained Professionals, Social Innovation, Bridging Program, Gateway for International Professionals, One-stop Shopping Model, Pan-professional Model, Two-way Education Model
Dr. Jian Guan
Program Evaluation Coordinator, The Chang School, Ryerson University
Director of Gateway for International Professionals, The Chang School of Continuing Education, Ryerson University
International Professionals, the Chang School at Ryerson University. He leads a
number of programs that designed to bridge the gap between education, experience
and employment in order to help internationally educated professionals to reach
their potential for laddering mobility in their trained professions and to help
Canadian employers to tap into the talent pool of skilled immigrants.