A new two-year partnership has been made between the New Brunswick Student Alliance (NBSA) and the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, with the intention of expanding networking opportunities for business students.
As a result of this partnership, post-secondary students will be able to register for chamber events at member rates and gain free access to chamber networking opportunities—such as their monthly Business After Hours and Business Over Breakfast events.
Fredericton Chamber CEO Krista Ross said that one of the challenges students often encounter is their lack of a network outside of UNB.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for them to meet business leaders in the community who come out to our events. In addition, it’s a great opportunity for businesspeople to meet future leaders of tomorrow,” she said.
The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce is a local business organization that promotes the interests of the Fredericton business community. This isn’t the first time that the Chamber has gotten involved with students. They offer an annual scholarship to a chamber-affiliated student, selected by a panel of the chamber’s past-presidents.
According to Ross, the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce emphasizes involvement with students as a way to build up the Fredericton community.
“We just see it as the future,” said Ross. “We have an aging population, and I think as time goes on, more and more communities will be competing for the youth that we need to maintain our communities, to maintain the demographics in our community, to fill the jobs we’re going to have in our communities—so we need to do whatever we can to make our community appealing for people to stay in.”
NBSA executive director Robert Burroughs said that the partnership with the Chamber of Commerce arose from the need to address a skill gap found in recent graduates.
“When you look at the last federal report on youth employment across the country, one of the major observations that we made is that there was a perceived skill gap in terms of what employers were expecting of recent graduates and students and what recent graduates and students were expecting when it came to the labour force and the labour market, so this is kind of our response to that,” Burroughs said.
“In theory, the long term goal would be to sensitize the business community in Fredericton and across New Brunswick to the idea of experiential learning of work, integrated learning of placements of both paying and hiring young people across the province,” he added.
Fourth year business student, Matt Branton, is optimistic about how this partnership will serve students.
“I think the partnership can be very beneficial to students, as it allows students the opportunity to network with professionals in and around the city; this could potentially lead to more students beginning start-up companies within the city, or even help students with job searching,”said Branton.
“Today, networking plays a big part in the world, so an opportunity like this can really go a long way. In my opinion, I believe this deal will help many students build a reliable network and better their chances of success following their degree.”