Nicolas Bertrand's NouLAB experience
In 2017, I was selected amongst other candidates to participate at the first cycle of the Noulab Economic Immigration Lab (EIL). As a newcomer who arrived in Canada in 2012, I assisted in numerous meetings about immigration and how to make it better but I rarely saw a concrete result. That was the main motivation to participate in the Economic Immigration Lab.
This project was presented to me as I was a key player. That, it was up to me if I wanted to make some changes or at least help. Nobody would tell me to stop and I would even be able to access some additional help and resources if needed. And, this was not mentioned, the Noulab team keeps on supporting my group but also me as an individual.
After the first day, I could already see that the selection had been made in a way that the entire group was really diverse and had all kinds of backgrounds. Private, not-for-profit, government. All in one room to work toward the same goal but in different ways.
After meeting everybody, some subgroups were created. Mine was (and still is) about “Community Engagement.” This group started during the first cycle of the EIL and is still running until today. The group takes part in multicultural activities mostly in Fredericton. Our project was to create a toolkit that we would be able to use in communities to get people to mingle no matter which country they are from.
What made me understand the importance of Noulab is when we went to the “Grow Together” conference in St. John. Everybody presents in the room knew or at least had heard about Noulab and what a difference it could bring to the province. I was lucky enough to be selected as one of the speaker for the panel as well as 2 additional teammates of my subgroup.
A big bonus of Noulab is also that I met some people that I would not have met otherwise. One of them is Alex LeBlanc, the Executive Director of the New-Brunswick Multicultural Council (NBMC). We were able to connect and we saw that we were thinking alike regarding the communication between the locals and the newcomers. Our talks were enjoyable and he gave me and my group some good advice.
About a month after the last Noulab meeting Alex called me to ask if I would be interested in a position at NBMC. Of course, I accepted to meet him and discuss further. After going through the interview process, I was offered the position of Cross-Cultural Education Coordinator. This position definitely was offered to me thanks to Noulab as I was able to show some of my abilities and also my ideas.
Noulab definitely offered me a great career opportunity that I enjoy every day.
Thank you very much!