Students had an opportunity to establish connections with 65 local businesses at the Choose Fredericton Student-Business Mixer on Oct. 2 at the Richard J. Currie Center.
Event co-chair, Laurie Guthrie, is an economic development officer for Enterprise Fredericton. She said the goal of the event was to increase the connection between students and businesses.
“There has been a lack of connections in the past, and you hear a lot about the hidden job market and skill shortages,” Guthrie said. “We thought about doing an event that will create a forum to network so students can network in a more comfortable, social setting.”
Heather Black, the other co-chair and a partner with law firm McInnes Cooper, was pleased with the amount of enthusiasm shown by students.
“We’ve seen a lot of participation from businesses in the community,” she said. “We’re happy with the turnout and seeing those connections being made.”
Guthrie said many visitors saw the mixer as a unique event.
“They see that this is different from the typical career fair,” she said. “It’s a one-stop shop for students all over the city and from different educational institutions. They cannot only look for career paths now but in the future and start building those connections.”
Black said the mixer focused strictly on local businesses in the Greater Fredericton area.
“Many smaller businesses don’t have the opportunity to attend bigger career fairs due to costs or timing. We tried to make this one accessible so it gives an opportunity to start making connections when they might not normally have the opportunity.”
UserEvents Inc. was among the businesses represented at the mixer. Ryan Brideau, vice-president of sales and marketing, said their firm handles customer surveys and monitors individuals as they interact with a company.
Though they don’t advertise jobs, Brideau says UserEvents gets the best employees by having students seek the company out and convince potential employers that they are the best person for the job.
“The biggest reception we’ve gotten has been from computer science students,” he said. “They see what we’re doing and become really interested and latch on to it.”
As for other networking opportunities, Guthrie said that Enterprise Fredericton is in the process of redesigning their website with networking in mind.
“We want to have a mechanism where students can post if they’re looking for positions in a certain area,” she said. “When we get businesses that are locally looking for talent or coming here and opening, we can basically connect them.”
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