College students share economic concerns with premier

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‘We need to start making a difference and we can’

TRURO - Students at the Nova Scotia Community College are taking a personal interest in the economic health of the province.

About 50 people, including Premier Stephen McNeil and campus students, gathered at the Truro campus on Friday to listen to opinions and suggestions from students regarding the provincial government’s recent report entitled

Now or Never – An Urgent Call To Action For Nova Scotians.

NSCC students Pierre Almeida and Meaghan MacFarlane were passionate about their presentation.

MacFarlane, 23, of Truro, spoke about a few topics, including threats to the province’s economy.

“One challenge is out-migration. People move out West, spend their money in other provinces and move back to Nova Scotia to retire,” said MacFarlane, a business

administration student.

“The focus needs to be on how to keep people here and how to create and grow businesses, matching people to the right jobs.”

MacFarlane also suggested government could retain the population, and workforce, by offering a tax break for students after they graduate.

“And to offer more opportunities to test drive careers while students are in high school so they can learn what they are passionate about before they make a (post-secondary) choice,” MacFarlane said.

She said young people must be proactive when it comes to their futures.

“It’s absolutely essential for people our age to work with the government and give their opinions. People our age sometimes think what the government does doesn’t impact me but it does,” she said. “Students need to know the challenges ... and there needs to be a change in attitude about how things can be handled. We need to start making a difference and we can.”

Almeida, an international business student, agreed.

“The future is in our hands. I’m not nervous about it because I’m (educating) myself about the issues and we can use our education and our location to our advantage,” said Almeida, a 22-year-old Truro resident.

Almeida was thrilled the premier made a special trip to the campus to hear students’ thoughts.

“It’s phenomenal that he’s taking an interest … I want to try to follow up with the premier on this.”

McNeil was also impressed with NSCC students. He said their suggestions were wise. Regarding the suggestion of a graduate tax break program, McNeil said, “the key is to provide job opportunities. We need to look at how employers give first chances to graduates. There needs to be more apprenticeship opportunities.”

McNeil also said a “cultural change” needs to take place in the province.

“We need more people (including immigrants) in the province. If we have an entrepreneurial spirit here” people will set up shop here, McNeil said.

The premier added it’s important for people to realize challenges, and solutions must be embraced by everyone.

“Government doesn’t have all the answers. It’s a call to

individual Nova Scotians because … everyday Nova Scotians make a difference.”

Twitter: tdnMonique

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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