For St. Thomas University (STU) student Adriana Badillo, interning at Ignite Fredericton allows her to apply the knowledge she’s earned throughout her bachelor degree.
She’s been there for seven months and soon after she graduates in May, Badillo will become a full-time marketing and communications staff at the economic development catalyst agency.
“The good thing is I’m working in [a job] that’s related to my field of studies,” said Badillo, who is working to complete a double major in communications and economics. “Ignite Fredericton is an economic development agency and so, the projects I work with are always related to business and the economy here in New Brunswick.”
Ignite Fredericton’s marketing and communications manager Book Sadprasid hired Badillo and another intern through FutureReadyNB. The program helps undergraduate students from New Brunswick’s publicly funded universities get on-the-job experience at local organizations and businesses. At the same time, it helps employers access funding and support to fill labour gaps.
Sadprasid said the initiative, organized through STU’s experiential learning office, guides the students and the businesses through the process.
“They helped us with everything from the hiring process to the funding as well,” said Sadprasid, who has been helping nurture the relationship between Ignite and STU.
“We help each other out when I have any events that might be good for my interns and other students also that are going through the experiential learning program. And when STU has any events that might be good for us, they invite us.”
STU’s experiential learning office also helped Badillo develop her resume and cover letter, and prepare for the job interview.
Currently, the full-time student works as a marketing and communications intern at Ignite Fredericton for 10 hours a week. She’s one of two students working at Ignite under the Future ReadyNB program.
With Ignite Fredericton closely linked to Planet Hatch and Knowledge Park, Badillo has done work for all three organizations. That experience has not only allowed her to grow her network, it also helps her explore tasks and fields she may be interested in.
“I’ve had the opportunity to do networking with a lot of businesses here in Fredericton, which is cool because you get to see how UNB, the Chamber of Commerce and Ignite work together to contribute to the economic development of the province. And that’s been really interesting.”
Sadprasid said besides working with her day-to-day, Badillo is also extensively trained, mentored and coached. The process usually begins with Sadprasid sitting down with new interns to identify goals and objectives, and setting up a “learning pathway,” she said.
“We find professional development courses or any opportunities, networking events that they can also go to as well,” said Sadprasid. “We do send them to any trainings that they’re interested in and obviously aligned with the job they’re currently doing.”
For instance, she says Badillo was recently sent to a coding workshop to help advance her day-to-day skills in digital communications.
“It’s really depending on what the students would like to learn the most because at the end of the day really, we want to give them the best learning experience as possible,” said Sadprasid.
The investment proved fruitful because Badillo will join the Ignite team full-time in June.
“We had a position opening up and Adriana has been doing such a great job with us, she expressed interest and she wants to stay in Fredericton, so everything worked out,” said Sadprasid.
For an international student like Badillo, who is originally from Ecuador and came to STU on a scholarship, the job security means a lot.
“I never intended to go home after graduation,” she said. “I was hoping to get my work permit and apply for jobs. [But] I wasn’t sure if I was going to stay in the province because I didn’t have a job here. When Ignite offered me the job it was a relief to me.”
She’s still exploring what she wants to do in the future – maybe return to school to study political or business communications, she said. But for now, her work at Ignite is helping her see various possibilities.
She can now apply for permanent residency through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot program – a “huge thing” for her.
“I will get to stay in Canada and work without the stress of having to renew my work permit,” she said. “I know I can be permanently here and move around, and continue thinking about my career in the country.”
This story is part of a series sponsored by FutureReadyNB. Previous stories: