Q & A Northern Nova Scotia

Conversation with Matthew Berrigan

The Northern Nova Scotia Connector Program is an example of true collaboration across organizations. Three different organizations work in concert to provide the Connector program to Truro, Colchester, Cumberland and Pictou counties and newcomers, international and domestic graduates within them. The program has been in operation since 2019 and has helped hundreds of people make their homes in the area. We sat down with Connector Program Coordinator Matthew Berrigan to chat about the impact the program is having in the area, and what it means to him.

arrow down
Alida Campbell

Interview by Alida Campbell.

Alida manages the National Connector Program and continues to be inspired by the stories of connection and growth that participants share across the country.
Alida

Alida:

How is the Connector Program helping the Northern Region of Nova Scotia thrive?

Matthew

Matthew:

In a number of ways. We work in people attraction. The Connector Program is all about building relationships – so it works well with all people attraction initiatives, especially with the labour challenges our businesses are facing. We can’t create the economic change that we want to without people. The number one challenge right now is hiring people, so it’s important to have unique programs that help with this issue. I really do believe it’s about who you know, on both sides of the equation – Connectees and Connectors. It’s about keeping the businesses informed about supports and resources they can use, and providing newcomers and new grads with networking opportunities, and the program helps to accomplish all of this.

Alida

Alida:

You work for three different organizations, which is a very different model from most. How do you fit within each organization, and what value do you bring to them?

Matthew

Matthew:

We fall under the recruitment and retention piece of work in all organizations. We work with new graduates and people in the late stages of their post-secondary education. There are so many jobs out there, helping students acquire the knowledge about these jobs, and where to focus their attention post graduation is what we do. We help to fill the gaps by pointing them in the right direction, and showing them the opportunities in our area that they might not be aware of. So that helps with retention of people, as well as filling the gaps in the labour market.

Alida

Alida:

Why is the program important to you? What keeps you coming to work every day?

Matthew

Matthew:

I truly feel like I have the best job in the world. I help talent find opportunity, and opportunity find talent. I’ve always been community oriented, and I love helping people find success. It’s a pay it forward concept, I help people and businesses find resources, supports, and they are able to contribute positively to the community. I’ve been doing this my whole life. I love that businesses engage with the community through this program, I don’t think there is a more rewarding job than what I am doing now. It makes you feel good about yourself – especially when you hear success stories from your Connectees!

Alida

Alida:

That’s wonderful to hear. You, the community, and businesses are gaining from the program - what does your program gain from being a part of the NCP?

Matthew

Matthew:

The learning exchanges with colleagues are so valuable, and the resources provided are so helpful – there’s no point in recreating the wheel! Everyone at the table has a wealth of expertise to bounce ideas off of. We can all learn from one another, and the NCP community really excels at leaning on each other for support when we need it. Due to the affiliation with the program, our events and activities are better organized and run, because we can always find out exactly what worked and didn’t work in other communities before planning one ourselves. There is so much collaboration in helping one another – so it gives us an opportunity to have a greater reach with our programming. I think one of the most important things is that it shows credibility for the program and how it works. It wouldn’t be replicated across the country if it didn’t.

Alida

Alida:

Thanks so much Matt for your dedication to the program. The connections you help facilitate within the community, and the collaboration between the organizations that house the program is unmatched. It makes such a positive difference for the program, and in the community. We look forward to seeing the impact it has on Northern Nova Scotia for years to come!