Between Conformity and Contestation: South Asian Immigrant Women Negotiating Soft Skill Training in Canada
Keywords:Adult learning, soft skills, immigrant, agency, work-related training
In the current Canadian neoliberal labour market, work-related learning and training are considered key strategies for developing workers’ economic productivity as well as expediting their integration to the labour market. An important aspect of such training and learning now consists of soft skills. Yet some scholars are ambivalent about the nature of such soft skill training as their curriculum are often suffused with cultural and racial values geared towards assimilating immigrants of colour to the dominant and normative national culture of the country. This paper further problematizes soft skill training by examining the training/learning experiences of highly educated South Asian women trying to enter the Canadian labour market after immigration. In particular, it highlights these women’s engagement with such soft skill training and their negotiation processes, thereby analyzing their agency in the context of work-related learning.
Ali, N. Z. (2004). Meaning making for South Asian immigrant women in Canada. Unpublished Phd, OISE/University of Toronto, Toronto.
Anderson, D. 2005. ESL enrichment for NorQuest College’s practical nurse re-entry program for international students. ATEAL Newsletter. Retrieved on February 5, 2007 from http://www.atesl.ca/docs/NewsletterMarchpercent2005.pdf.
Anzaldua, G. (1987). Borderlands / La Frontera: The New Mestiza (2 ed.). San Francisco: Spinster Aunt Lute Press.
Bannerji, H. (2000). The dark side of the nation: Essays on multiculturalism, nationalism, and gender. Toronto, ON, Canada: Canadian Scholars' Press Inc.
Chakrabarty, D. (1999). Adda, Calcutta: Dwelling in modernity. Public Culture 11(1), 109-145.
Conrad, C. A. (2004). Building Skills for Black Workers: Preparing for the Future Labour Market. Washington: University Press of America.
Cook, V. (1999). Going beyond the native speaker in language teaching. TESOL Quarterly, 33(2), 185-210.
Donaldson, I. (2007). Enhancing policy capacity on the issue of foreign credential recognition. Canadian Issues:Foreign Credential Recognition, Spring, 55-58.
Fernandes, L. (1997). Producing workers: The politics of gender, class, and culture in the Calcutta jute mills. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Fisher, S., & Davis, K. (1993). Negotiating at the margins: The gendered discourses of power and resistance. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.
Ganguly, K. (2001). States of exception: Everyday life and postcolonial identity. Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota Press.
Girard, E. R., & Bauder, H. (2007). Assimilation and exclusion of foreign trained engineers in Canada: Inside a professional regulatory organization. Antipode, 39(1), 35-53.
Goldberg, M. P. (2007). How current globalization discourses shape access: Professions and trades policy in Ontario. Canadian Issues: Foreign Credential Recognition, Spring, 31-35.
Graham, H. (1984). Surveying through stories. In C. Bell & H. Roberts (Eds.), Social researching: Politics, problems, practice (pp. 104-124). London: Routledge.
Guo, S. (2005). Difference, Deficiency, and Devaluation: Non-Recognition of Foreign Credentials for Immigrant Professionals in Canada. Paper presented at the 24th Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education (CASAE) Conference, University of Western University, London, ON.
Guo, Y. (2009). Racializing immigrant professionals in an employment preparation ESL program. Cultural and Pedagogical Inquiry, 1(1), 40-54.
Guo, Y. (2013). Language Policies and Programs for Adult Immigrants in Canada: A Critical Analysis. Canadian Ethnic Studies, 45(1), 23-41.
Handel, M. (2012). “Trends in Job Skill Demands in OECD Countries”, OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, No. 143, OECD Publishing.
International Labour Organization. (2011). A Skilled Workforce for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth: A G20 Training Strategy. Geneva: International Labour Organization.
Jackson, N., & Jordan, S. S. (1999). Skills Training: Who Benefits? Toronto: York University.
Jermier, J. M., Knights, D., & Nord, W. R. (1994). Resistance and Power in Organizations. London: Routledge.
Li, P. (2003). Destination Canada: Immigration debates and issues. Don Mills: Oxford University Press.
Mahmood, S. (2001). Feminist Theory, Embodiment, and the Docile Agent: Some Reflections on the Egyptian Islamic Revival. Cultural Anthropology, 16(2), 202–236.
Maitra, S. (2011). Redefining “Enterprising Selves”: Exploring the “Negotiation” of South Asian Immigrant Women Working As Home-Based Enclave Entrepreneurs. Unpublished PhD, OISE/University of Toronto, Toronto.
Mohanty, C. T. (1991). Cartographies of Struggle: Third World women and the politics of feminism. In C. T. Mohanty & A. Russo (Eds.), Third World women and the politics of feminism (pp. 1-50). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
Moss, P., & Tilly, C. (1996). “Soft” skills and race: An investigation of black men's employment problems. Work and Occupations, 23(3), 252-276.
Moss, P., & Tilly, C. (2001). Stories employers tell: Race, skill and hiring in America. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Nickson, D., Warhurst, C., & Dutton, E. (2005). The importance of attitude and appearance in the service encounter in retail and hospitality. Managing Service Quality, 15(2), 195-208.
OECD. (2011). Skills for innovation and research. Paris: OECD.
OECD. (2012). Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Lives : A Strategic Approach to Skills Policies. Paris: OECD.
Ong, A. (2003). Buddha is hiding: Refugees, citizenship, the new America. Berkeley and Los Angeles, California: University of California Press.
Pun, N. (2005). Women factory workers in a global workspace. Durham and London: Duke University Press.
Rose, N. (1992). Governing the enterprising self. In P. Heelas & P. Morris (Eds.), The values of the enterprise culture: The moral debate (pp. 141-164). London and New York: Routledge.
Sakamoto, I. et al., (2013). An overview of discourses of skilled immigrants and “Canadian experience”: An English-language print media analysis. Toronto: CERIS.
Scott, J. (1985). Weapons of the weak: Everyday forms of peasant resistance. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
Shan, H. (2013). Skill as a relational construct: hiring practices from the standpoint of Chinese immigrant engineers in Canada. Work, employment and society, 27(6), 915- 931.
Sparks, B., & Butterwick, S. (2004). Culture, Equity and Learning. In G. Foley, Dimensions of Adult Learning: Adult Education and training in a global era (pp. 276-289). Berkshire: Open University Press.
Theodoropoulou, S. (2010). Skills and education for growth and well-being in Europe 2020: Are we on the right path? European Policy Centre.
Thobani, S. (2007). Exalted subjects: Studies in the making of race and nation in Canada. Toronto, ON, Canada: University of Toronto Press.
World Health Organization. (2003). Skills for health: Skills-based health education including life skills: An important component of a Child-Friendly/Health-Promoting School. United States: World Health Organization.
Wray, S. (2004). What constitutes agency and empowerment for women in later life? The Sociological Review, 52(1), 22-38.
How to Cite
Authors of manuscripts accepted for publication will be required to assign copyright to the Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education/L’Association canadienne pour l’étude de l’éducation des adultes (CJSAE). CJSAE requests that, as the creator(s)/author(s) of the manuscript your are submitting assign certain rights to the manuscript to the CJSAE in exchange for undertaking to publish the article in print and electronic form and, in general, to pursue its dissemination throughout the world. The rights the CJSAE requests are:
- The right to publish the article in print and electronic form or in any other form it may choose that is in keeping with its role as a scholarly journal with the goal of disseminating the work as widely as possible;
- The right to be the sole publisher of the article for a period of 12 months;
- The right to make the article available to the public within a period of not more than 24 months, as determined by relevant journal staff of the CJSAE;
- The right to grant republication rights to itself or others in print, electronic, or any other form, with any revenues accrued to be shared equally between the author(s) and the journal;
- The right to administer permission to use portions of the article as requested by others, seeking recompense when the CJSAE sees it as warrented;
- The right to seek or take advantage of opportunities to have the article included in a database aimed at increasing awareness of it;
- As the author(s), the CJSAE wishes you to retain the right to republish the article, with acknowledgement of the CJSAE as the original publisher, in whole or in part, in any other pbulication of your own, including any anthology that you might edit with up to three others;
- As the author(s), the CJSAE withes you to retain the right to place the article on your personal Web page or that of your university or institution. The CJSAE askes that you include this notice: A fully edited, peer-reviewed version of this article was first published by the Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, <Year>, <Volume>, <Issue>, <Page Numbers>.
BY AGREEING TO THE FOREGOING, YOU CONFIRM THAT THE MANUSCRIPT YOU ARE SUBMITTING HAS NOT BEEN PUBLISHED ELSEWHERE IN WHOLE OR IN PART, AND THAT NO AGREEMENT TO PUBLISH IS OUTSTANDING.
SHOULD THE ARTICLE CONTAIN MATERIAL WHICH REQUIRES WRITTEN PERMISSION FOR INCLUSION, YOU AGREE THAT IT IS YOUR OBLIGATION IN LAW TO IDENTIFY SUCH MATERIAL TO THE EDITOR OF THE CJSAE AND TO OBTAIN SUCH PERMISSION. THE CJSAE WILL NOT PAY ANY PERMISSION FEES. SHOULD THE CJSAE BE OF THE OPINION THAT SUCH PERMISSION IS NECESSARY, IT WILL REQUIRE YOU TO PURSUE SHUCH PERMISSSION PRIOR TO PUBLICATION.
AS AUTHOR(S), YOU WARRANT THAT THE ARTICLE BEING SUBMITTED IS ORIGINAL TO YOU.
Provided the foregoing terms are satisfactory, and that you are in agreement with them, please indicate your acceptance by checking the appropriate box and proceed with your submission.
This copyright agreement was extracted with permission from the "Best practices guide to scholarly journal publishing" (2007), produced by the Canadian Association of Learned Journals (CALJ).