The program, which has been coined Study and Succeed, has the aim of “increasing availability of skilled labour” by retaining international students after graduation, amid a country-wide labour shortage.
“Not only are international students a critical component of our talent pipeline, they also contribute immensely to making our province more diverse and inclusive,” said Arlene Dunn, minister for Opportunities NB, the provincial government’s growth accelerator.
She also mentioned that growing New Brunswick’s initial “population base” would be essential to addressing workforce needs – and access is “crucial for NB companies of every size”.
The announcement also said that the program will offer access to resources, support and connections “needed to launch a successful career and fulfilling life” in New Brunswick province.
The move comes after what was a more successful uptick in enrolments than expected in Atlantic Canada, announced in November 2022.
The initiative is due to last three years, and builds on the previous Study and Stay pilot program that ran in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Finishing in 2021, it was heralded as a success, and the Study and Succeed program exclusive to New Brunswick is expected to take in nine cohorts of 100 international students by its final year in 2026.
“International students [are] a critical component of our talent pipeline”
Funding for the project comes from both Opportunities NB and the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program run by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. Each is investing around $500,000.
Announced during a conference from January 6-8 in Fredericton, the city’s MP Jenica Atwin said the government was “proud to support projects” like Study and Succeed.
“[They provide] international graduate students with the tools, training, and professional contacts they need to stay in New Brunswick,” Atwin explained.
“By creating the right networks and opportunities, we are fostering inclusion and strengthening our vibrant, diverse communities,” she added.
The Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program, while being used in this provincial instance, is a national initiative to bolster industrial and technology “clusters” and innovation ecosystems in regions across Canada.