Written by Bhaanvi Rai, ONB fall student.

As a final-year student at the University of New Brunswick (UNB), I was concerned about not having real work experience before entering the workforce. In June, I received an opportunity that changed my life – an offer from Opportunities NB (ONB) to work in their Business Integrated Technology Services Department as a co-op student. This was an opportunity to gain work experience and make a positive impact on the lives of newcomers like me – I jumped at the chance.

ONB works with New Brunswick employers to identify their labour challenges and help them leverage the immigration and talent acquisition stream(s) that best suit their unique needs. The province has multiple immigration streams which applicants can apply for through the INB (Immigration NB) portal. ONB collaborates with community partners to assist newcomers settling into local communities and works to ensure that international students and skilled immigrants remain in New Brunswick. Executing the latest strategic plan to retain and welcome more skilled newcomers is a priority of ONB’s Immigration Team.

Ensuring a Smoother Immigration Experience

Processing Officers were receiving several repeat questions from applicants and were thus spending time responding to these common inquiries. Existing help manuals focused on only a few aspects of the application process, and many people were requiring help navigating the INB portal.

To make the entire process simpler, I was tasked with creating and updating help documents for applicants. I worked with the Processing Officers to identify the FAQ trends and the most prevalent trouble spots where applicants were making mistakes or requiring assistance. With the help documents created, using input from subject matter experts, and a renewed focus on answering the most frequent questions, Processing Officers would have less of their time consumed by responding to the most common inquiries, and the steps required would be clearer for the applicants.

I began creating these step-by-step user help documents in English, then had them translated into French, making them accessible to all INB portal applicants in both official languages.  I created approximately 20 help documents by the end of my work term.

Cross-Training: A Big Advantage of ONB’s Student Program

New Brunswick students
Bhaanvi with Erica Ward

As a Human Resource Management major, I looked to gain experience in that area. Fortunately, ONB encourages cross-training. I chose to train with Erica Ward, ONB’s Culture Manager. The organization was recruiting three co-op students for the Winter Semester, and I had the opportunity to participate in the end-to-end recruitment cycle.

I helped Erica with the screening of applicants and scheduling of interviews. Interviews were conducted virtually to ensure it was more accessible, as we had candidates from across Atlantic Canada. I was pleased to see that ONB prioritizes well-rounded students who are coachable, excited about the role they are offered and are the right culture fit for the organization.

I assisted the Culture Team in organizing ONB events aimed at creating a more fun and inclusive environment. I joined the Diversity Team and assisted in organizing Diwali celebrations. With Erica’s help, I drafted an email to educate ONBers about the occasion and wish employees of the Hindu faith a happy and safe Diwali. I even got to help decorate the office to create a more inclusive environment for everyone.

My time with ONB helped me add so many new skills; I have discovered what I am truly passionate about and have participated in various rewarding networking events. I would greatly recommend students apply for student roles at ONB, as it has been one of the best experiences throughout my undergrad. ONB treats students like true employees and provides us with all the tools required for us to succeed in the workforce after we leave. If you are looking for a great work opportunity where you are excited to work every day and make an impact, ONB is the place for you.

Want to learn more about ONB’s student program? Contact us at this email address