Assisting refugees with post-secondary access

Fri, Oct 10, 2014

Metro Vancouver, B.C. – The Future Students’ Office at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) has partnered with Zipporah’s Dream to deliver free information sessions on education access for refugees living south of the Fraser.

Three sessions will be offered at various locations throughout the Lower Mainland, each with the goal of raising awareness of post-secondary opportunities and pathways for refugee youth, their families and community support workers.

“Regardless of socioeconomic status, age or educational background, KPU offers ways for community members to gain the necessary skills for life and employment. This fits the mandate of Zipporah’s Dream, a steering committee composed of KPU faculty and community service groups who view access to post-secondary training as a key bridge in successful refugee transitions,” said Don Reddick, chair of the Zipporah’s Dream steering committee and an economics instructor at KPU.

A recent study by the committee conservatively estimates that 2,000 refugees from countries including Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Ethiopia now call Surrey home. That number is expected to grow as Canada continues to uphold its international commitment to resettle refugees who live abroad in difficult, protracted situations. 

“At the heart of KPU is our open access mandate, and this initiative will support and hopefully encourage the participation of refugees within our post-secondary system. While resettlement presents many challenges to refugees, it also brings the hope of previously unreachable opportunities, including higher education," said Joanne Saunders, executive director of marketing and recruitment at KPU.

The KPU and Zipporah’s Dream sessions will be hosted in Langley and Surrey, with the first of three designed to introduce those post-secondary opportunities, and demystify the process by introducing basic terms, requirements and timelines.

A second series of sessions will review KPU programs, registration, course planning, costs and financial aid. Finally, campus tours and presentations by representatives from KPU departments and faculties will be provided.

All members of the refugee community are encouraged to attend these sessions, along with community support workers interested in learning more about post-secondary access opportunities.

Seating at the sessions is limited. For more information or to register, email Don Reddick, Zipporah’s Dream committee chair, at

Post-secondary basics, terminology, pathways and timeliness. The session is not KPU-specific, and will benefit prospective students in the refugee community and their families.

  • Langley – Weds. Oct. 15
    PuCKs Clubhouse, Douglas Park Community School, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
  • Surrey – Thurs. Oct. 16
    Surrey Public Library (City Centre), Room 418, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Learn more about KPU programs and pathways, the basics of registration, course planning, costs, financial aid availability and more. The session will be of interest to prospective students and their families, as well as community service workers and counselors wishing to know more about KPU opportunities.

  • Langley – Weds. Dec. 10
    PuCKs Clubhouse, Douglas Park Community School, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
  • Surrey – Thurs. Dec. 11
    Surrey Public Library (City Centre), Room 418, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Campus tours and presentations by KPU support representatives from key university divisions and programs. The session will be of interest to prospective students, parents, community service workers and school system counselors.

  • KPU Surrey – Jan. 15, 2015
    12666 72nd Ave. Surrey
    Time: TBD

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts, science, design, health, trades and technology, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 124 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates citations and apprenticeships. Learn more at


Media contact:
Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist, KPU
t: 604.599.2883
c: 604.364.1288

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