Career Change of Skilled Immigrants in Canada: A Qualitative Case Study of Immigrants Career Change and Self-Directed Learning

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This qualitative case study explores the learning experience of skilled immigrants whose careers were negatively impacted by uncertainty or unprecedented changes associated with their careers. While career change is a new norm in the age of digital transformation, individuals must utilize skills that help them adapt to a new environment and pivot their careers once needed. Skilled immigrants are significant contributors to the Canadian economy; therefore, it is essential to understand how they navigate their careers during an economic crisis in Canada. While most literature focuses on the career change of skilled immigrants for the first job in Canada, few studies explore a career change of skilled immigrants who have already established a career but still struggle to pivot their career once needed. This study was done from the lens of adult learning by applying two theoretical frameworks of self-directed learning and transformative learning. By applying a qualitative case study, this study explores the learning experience of twelve skilled immigrants that occurred during the transition period of a career change in Canada. The finding of this study confirms that participants self-designed their learning while they acquired new knowledge and skills for a new career. Additionally, these skilled immigrants illustrated that during the period of a career change, they developed positive characteristics that are attributed to self-directed learners. Moreover, exploration of these participants’ stories demonstrates that their perspective toward the notion of career development has transformed significantly.
skilled immigrants, career change, self-directed learning, transformative learning
Barjesteh, V. (2022). Career change of skilled immigrants in Canada: a qualitative case study of immigrants career change and self-directed learning (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from