For the past year, Kelsey Bernard of Tobique First Nation has been working as a Human Resource Officer at NB Power. Kelsey began her work through JEDI’s Indigenous Internship Program (IIP) which provides recent university graduates with the opportunity to gain meaningful experience in the workforce.
She recently graduated from the University of New Brunswick (UNB) with a concentration in human resource management and a minor in psychology. From there, she was unsure of her future. Kelsey says, “I was in a limbo of ‘am I ready to go into the workforce or am I not?’ I was prepared to go back and get my Masters.” However soon after graduation, Kelsey was presented with the opportunity at NB Power. “I found out about JEDI’s Indigenous Internship Program through my community’s Financial Advisor and Employment Training Officer.”
Kelsey began her position at NB Power on the Talent Management team but was just recently offered a permanent position and now works with the Employment team. Some of her roles and responsibilities include gathering Indigenous applicants from across New Brunswick and ensuring that they are readily accessible for employment with NB Power.
Kelsey says the IIP program has contributed to her development both personally and professionally. “It has really built my confidence, which is something I lacked beforehand. I really just needed that real-life experience in the workforce, and I’m really grateful that I received it so close to the end of my schooling. It has also taught me the importance of networking. I’m a very introverted person, but it’s been really awesome being surrounded by people who want to help you.”
A main focus of Kelsey’s position at NB Power is related to fostering indirect economic development within First Nation communities through employment with NB Power. While Kelsey says she’s learned so much about economic development altogether, she’s most impressed by the work being done by First Nations Economic Development Officers (EDOs) and the Employment Training Officers (ETOs). “What surprised me is the networking between the EDOs and the ETOs. It’s a really great approach to keeping in touch and learning from each other. The strides that each EDO is taking – to keep advancing – is truly remarkable.”
When asked if she has any advice for future interns, Kelsey says, “don’t be afraid to ask questions. You may be surrounded by a lot of smart and intimidating people but most of the time they really want to help you out.”