Opportunities NB (ONB) recognizes that to increase private sector investment and grow the provincial economy, our companies need access to a robust and skilled talent pool. If we can retain more of our high school and post-secondary graduates, we will work towards ensuring our companies have the right talent they need to thrive.

Like other jurisdictions across North America, New Brunswick has experienced labour force challenges. One solution aimed at better preparing our anglophone high school students for rewarding careers with local companies is the Centres of Excellence (COEs) initiative from Future NB, Future Wabanaki, and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (EECD).

Future Talent Gets Real Experience

Experiential learning takes students beyond the classroom and supports curriculum through real-life experiences. Students who participate in experiential opportunities enhance their practical skills and increase their knowledge retention. For New Brunswick’s employers, this means future employees with stronger problem-solving abilities, increased workplace readiness, and improved practical skills.

COEs and the experiential learning opportunities they offer will play a key role in the development of our future workforce. Most importantly, New Brunswick companies who get involved in experiential learning will help shape the province’s short and long-term talent pipelines, as well as their own.

The Benefits for New Brunswick Companies

Experiential learning allows your team’s knowledge and leadership to support New Brunswick students in finding rewarding career paths, perhaps even within your own business. Providing these opportunities requires minimal time investment and positively impacts students from their time in K-12 and beyond.

Just a few hours from one company can offer important learning opportunities to the next generation. Businesses that partner with Centres of Excellence experience benefits like increased visibility locally, new talent pipelines, and improved connections with the community.

Industry-specific COEs currently exist for:

  • Energy;
  • Digital Innovation;
  • Health (with a focus on Social Care); and
  • Entrepreneurship

There are Many Ways Companies Can Help

New Brunswick employers’ involvement in one of the COEs could include:

  • Live and recorded presentations;
  • Virtual and/or in-person facility tours;
  • Virtual learning expertise and support, and demonstration of job tasks;
  • Financial contributions to support centre resources;
  • Support of and from co-op students; and/or
  • Supporting lesson plans and providing students opportunities to obtain credits.

Student retention is becoming increasingly essential for New Brunswick businesses to thrive, and private sector involvement in COEs helps showcase the existing career opportunities New Brunswick students have here at home. It is essential to demonstrate to our young people that many companies are doing great things in New Brunswick; they can be a part of something exciting and innovative right here in our province.

“ONB fully recognizes that student retention is vital to helping New Brunswick companies meet their current and future workforce needs,” says Traci Simmons, ONB’s Acting CEO. “We are thrilled to see clients connecting with our partners at Future NB, Future Wabanaki, and EECD to tackle that reality with a robust plan to give students real work experience with the world-class employers we work with every day.”

Learn more at https://centresofexcellencenb.ca/.