The motto of the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks is “language is the key,” and we believe this statement couldn’t be truer in our vision of a future where all can belong and grow. The inability to communicate effectively in English is a significant barrier for many immigrants, often preventing them from successfully integrating into their community and workplace. ISANS Language Services helps immigrants remove that barrier by providing them with the ability to express themselves and the confidence to go about their daily lives, from visiting the doctor and talking to a neighbour, to chairing a meeting at work.
Young adults are particularly susceptible to the disadvantages that arise from challenges with language. Immigrants of this age group have left the familiarity and support of their homes, schools, and friends at a very important stage in their development, leaving them vulnerable to social isolation, marginalization, and a loss of cultural identity. Early intervention, engagement, and peer connection are vital to maintaining and strengthening their resilience and well-being, as well as ensuring they receive the community support they need to grow and thrive in their new country.
Our Language Training for Young Adults program is specialized for young adult immigrants who cannot complete traditional high school because their education has been interrupted, they struggle with literacy, or they have aged out of the traditional school system. With this program, young adult immigrants can achieve the language skills they need to acquire high-school equivalency, attain post-secondary education, or prepare for employment with peers who have similar goals and life experiences, ultimately supporting their growth by helping them reach their academic and employment dreams.
We’re so pleased with the expansion and successes this program has seen in the last few years. We have increased both the enrolment and the number of classes we offer: all year round, it has several levels to support clients and then doubles in size in the summer to accommodate high-school students who want to continue building their language skills over the summer break. Our students have also gone on to achieve great personal successes, some of which include improving the accessibility of voter information cards for Elections Canada, as well as preparing for university by exceeding the language requirements for Dalhousie’s David Packer Grant for EAL (English as an Additional Language).
Collaboration and partnership with key stakeholders – such as the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Halifax Regional Centre for Education, Learn English Nova Scotia, and Nova Scotia Community College – have been instrumental. As a community, we are ensuring all young adults have equitable opportunities to meet their maximum potential.