Summary of 2015 Needs Assessment for Labour Market Integration and Planning
Written by Dr. Jethro Edubagwa Odanga
(Project Manager, ACFOLA LMPP)
Understanding the level of engagement, integration and inclusion for immigrants in the city of London is important for the formulation of economic and settlement policies. ACFOLA conducted a needs assessment study in 2014 to fill a gap for specific information about African Canadians’ labor market experiences in London and Area.
The objectives of the study were three folds:
- To identify gaps in employment, education and skills, level of community participation, housing and health;
- To assess community experiences in accessing social services; and
- To find barrier and enabling factors for inclusion, engagement and integration.
A total of 211 people aged 18 years and above were interviewed and discussions held with three focus groups. As well, thirteen service providers were interviewed to assess priority needs of the community, opportunities, and barriers for engagement, integration and inclusion. The findings revealed the following:
Identified priorities: Five major needs and priorities were identified: development of labour skills; recognition of foreign credentials; language training; strengthening of mentoring strategies and provision of relevant employment services. Only one in every two African Canadian accessed services for inclusion, integration and engagement, indicating the major barrier to accessibility of services was due in part to social exclusion.
Level of education: Seventy percent of the sample population had post-secondary education, one in every two respondents (50%) were foreign trained and in possession of either a degree or diploma.
Potential work-force and health: Four out of every five respondents were in the active age-bracket ranging between 25-54years. Compared to long-term immigrants, recent immigrants were younger and healthier.
Employment: Twenty-one percent were part-time employees; 33% were Full-time and 11% were self-employed. Overall unemployment rate was 35%, which was about four times the rate of unemployment in London, Ontario at the time of the study.
Remuneration: The community was not only faced by high (35%) unemployment rate, 50% of the employees worked in fields unrelated to their training and were underpaid. Majority of employees (81%) who worked in fields unrelated to their training had either a university degree (42%), or a college/post-secondary (39%) diploma/post-secondary certificates, respectively. The average annual income of the respondents was $26,000 mainly sourced from salaries (62%), Social welfare (15%) and family or loans (15%).
The average annual income for all Londoners was $39,360 during the study period, indicating that African Canadian respondents earned an average of two-thirds of the overall annual income recorded in London Ontario.
Housing: Almost one in every four respondents (27.5%) owned a house. Slightly above two in every five respondents (42.7%) had rental dwellings. Somewhat one in every five people (21.3%) lived in subsidized houses. A small percentage (8.5%) stated they lived with their parents or friends.
See infographic below: