MONCTON (GNB) – Funding for experiential learning will be available to post-secondary students this fall as part of a new $18.4-million investment in workforce development for New Brunswick youth.

Post-Secondary Education Minister Roger Melanson made the announcement today in Moncton as part of meetings held by the task force on experiential education.

“Your government supports students as they seek opportunities to enter the workforce,” said Melanson. “This funding for experiential learning will allow students to foster connections to New Brunswick’s employers, develop new skills and discover their career path in our province.”

The task force was established in 2017 to help give students better access to work experience during their post-secondary education. Fifteen million dollars over three academic years will fund bursaries for mandatory work placements in areas including nursing, education and nutrition, offsetting the financial burden for some students. An additional $3.4 million will fund innovative experiential education opportunities developed by liberal arts faculties, labour market evaluations and other programs requested by the task force.

“Many fields of studies, such as the humanities and social sciences, do not directly correspond with easily identifiable work placements,” said Emily Blue, executive director of the New Brunswick Student Alliance. “The development of this fund will allow students to develop tailor-made experiential learning opportunities which will allow them to develop relevant skills to their field of study or their academic interest.”

Funding will also be available to reduce barriers faced by students seeking work experience outside of traditional co-operative education and internship programs. For example, students could ask for funding to pay for a bus pass to get them across the city to a work placement or to pay for necessary safety equipment.

The funding will be aimed at underserved groups, including Indigenous students, first-generation students, and first- and second-year university students.

“The funding announced today by the Government of New Brunswick represents an investment of great value for us,” said Jacques Paul Couturier, acting president and vice-chancellor of the Université de Moncton. “It will enable universities in the province to acquire the tools they need to improve or develop experiential learning opportunities for their students. This allows us to see that the provincial government understands the positive impact that experiential learning can have on the experience of students.”

More information on the New Brunswick Teen Apprenticeship Program is available online. Applications and details on bursaries and student funds will be made available later this summer.