Feb. 1, 2008
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Convening a provincial youth summit, developing a youth action plan, and focusing more strongly on retaining international students are parts of New Brunswick's plan to build a self-sufficient province by 2026. The Population Growth Secretariat, in partnership with the New Brunswick Advisory Council on Youth, will initiate the strategy.
Business New Brunswick Minister Greg Byrne, who is also minister responsible for the Population Growth Secretariat, made the announcement today while speaking to a politics and globalization class at the University of New Brunswick.
"Today we are telling youth that we need them to be our future and part of a self-sufficient province," Byrne said. "In New Brunswick, we will develop a culture of apprenticeship by providing youth with important co-op, mentorship and internship opportunities with our province's employers."
The youth summit will take place in May, and will bring together government, community and business leaders to participate in a comprehensive consultation on matters of population growth and youth engagement. The Advisory Council on Youth will co-operate with the Population Growth Secretariat to collect both qualitative and quantitative data throughout the process in order to develop a youth-driven action plan.
"The Advisory Council on Youth is happy to partner with the Population Growth Secretariat for this important initiative to help engage youth in a meaningful way on this issue," said Ivan Corbett, executive director of the Advisory Council on Youth. "The council will be holding consultations with youth throughout the province in advance of the summit, and we encourage all youth in the province to speak up during this process."
The next step, a Sustainable Youth Action Plan, will analyze current youth services, programs and projects; seek innovative methods to strengthen how major entities (government, employers, community associations, career/guidance counsellors, etc.) interact with youth; and propose action items to create a more engaged youth population, thereby retaining more young people in the province.
"As a province we need to be more proactive about retaining our youth, and the measures announced today will help us do that," Byrne said. "But we must also take advantage of the presence of international students studying in the province to provide them with a mentorship opportunity on setting up a business so that they stay and contribute to our economy."
In order to help retain more international students, Byrne said that an entrepreneurial program which helps them set up businesses and remain in the province after their studies are completed will be expanded provincewide. This program has gone through pilot stages with Enterprise Saint John, and has proved to be successful in helping international students learn new business practices and establish a business.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Brendan Langille, Communications New Brunswick, 506-444-5070; Ivan Corbett, New Brunswick Advisory Council on Youth.