FREDERICTON (GNB) – An initiative has been launched to help Indigenous university students become job-ready while supporting employers in finding and recruiting qualified employees.

FutureReadyWabanaki was established as a partnership involving the provincial government and the province’s four publicly funded universities. It follows the provincewide model of FutureReadyNB, which was created earlier this year.

“Finding more people for the workforce is a challenge for the province, and this initiative will be part of the solution,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder. “Being a partner in FutureReadyWabanaki is one of the ways we can prepare Aboriginal youth for rewarding careers while developing skilled employees for the province’s labour force.”

FutureReadyWabanaki will:

  • Provide Indigenous students with on-the-job experience prior to graduation.
  • Improve the job readiness of students related to their field of study.
  • Support growth, recruitment and retention for employers.

“Through FutureReadyWabanaki, we are able to strengthen the University of New Brunswick’s commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action by valuing Indigenous knowledges and ways of knowing by enhancing Indigenous students’ access to experiential education,” said the university’s president and vice-chancellor Paul Mazerolle. “In our first year, we were able to provide culturally appropriate work placement opportunities for 17 Indigenous students. We look forward to growing and strengthening opportunities for Indigenous students into the future.”

“New Brunswick has a progressive and successful template with FutureReadyNB, and now we are linking it to programs that recruit and support post-secondary Indigenous students,” said St. Thomas University (STU) president and vice-chancellor Dawn Russell. “Experiential learning programs allow students to put their knowledge to work while they are still studying. STU already has 470 students realizing the benefits of experiential learning, working in small to medium-sized enterprises, startups and not-for-profits. We are excited to expand these opportunities with specific programming for Indigenous students who make up eight per cent of our student body.”

The launch of FutureReadyWabanaki took place in Fredericton with representatives of the University of New Brunswick and STU. Mount Allison University and the Université de Moncton are also participating in the initiative.

The announcement was made during Atlantic Canada Career Week. The theme this year is experiential learning.

An energized private sector is one of the government’s key priorities. More information about the government’s priorities and measurements is available online.