Great Expectations: Perspectives of Young West African Immigrant Men Transitioning to the Canadian Labour Market Without Postsecondary Education

  • Stacey Wilson-ForsbergEmail author
  • Oliver Masakure
  • Edward Shizha
  • Ginette Lafrenière
  • Magnus Mfoafo-M’Carthy


This article employs a life course perspective to examine the life experiences—expectations, disappointments and second chances—of young men from West African immigrant families who did not complete postsecondary education. Specifically, it demonstrates the discrepancy between the education and career expectations that parents have for their sons and the men’s own expectations as they transitioned from high school to the labour market. Based on a larger qualitative study of the postsecondary education decisions of male African immigrant youth in Southern Ontario, Canada, the article highlights the life stories of 20 young men in Toronto who transitioned to adulthood in economically vulnerable families. The findings demonstrate that the young men took a non-linear path to the labour market.


African immigrant youth Transition to postsecondary education Transition to labour market Parental expectations Second chances Life course perspective 


Funding Information

This work was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada [Insight Development Grant 210603].


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Rights and Human DiversityWilfrid Laurier UniversityBrantfordCanada
  2. 2.Business Technology ManagementWilfrid Laurier UniversityBrantfordCanada
  3. 3.Youth and Children’s StudiesWilfrid Laurier UniversityBrantfordCanada
  4. 4.Social WorkWilfrid Laurier UniversityBrantfordCanada

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