Nearly 1,000 job hunters showed up at an employment fair organized by the provincial government in Fredericton on Wednesday.

The job fair was the first time the provincial government has held such an event where it was free for employers to set up booths.


Zenabis CEO Mark Catroppa says the medicinal marijuana producer in Atholville plans to hire 150 people by the end of the year. (CBC)

One of the 45 employers who came looking to hire was Zenabis, which plans to produce medicinal marijuana in in the northern community of Atholville.

Mark Catroppa, the chief executive officer of Zenabis, says the company plans to hire 150 people by the end of the year.

"From people with university degrees, scientists, quality assurance managers, right down to people with no previous work experience," said Catroppa.

Daniel Merrill, a job-seeker who has a background in science and sales, was drawn to the Zenabis booth.

"I saw Zenabis and they were the company I was most interested in," said Merrill.

"They had the most jobs available, first off. That was important to me and they had jobs related to the field I was interested in."

J.D. Irving Ltd., which is about to expand its forestry operations, was also at the fair and looking for workers.


A job fair put on by the provincial government in Fredericton on Wednesday attracted almost 1,000 participants. (CBC)

"When we look out over the next year — that's this year and the next two years — we're going to need to fill over 2,700 positions, and that's just normal attrition, retirements and some growth as well," said Jeff Green, the director of talent acquisition for J.D. Irving Ltd.

Darrell Tidd of Pennfield has been job hunting since last fall and was happy to hear of companies with hiring plans.

"[I'm] beginning to realize that in the province there's slim pickins," said Tidd.

"So just getting out there and seeing what's around, actually."

Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Jody Carr said the job fair is a part of the provincial government’s new job strategy.

"Getting people the information is also part of our job strategy and we have new employers that are here, technology companies, we have management positions, we have also entry level positions,” Carr said.

Carr said similar job fairs will be held in the months leading up to the provincial election in September.