'There was an error made': SEED jobs at UNB disappear

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A student at the University of New Brunswick is asking why she lost her summer job through the province's SEED program.

Esther Vaswani was granted a position as research assistant in the biology department.

"I had lined up a job with one of my professors ... we had a start date for June," said Vaswani.

But earlier this week, Vaswani got an email saying the SEED funding that UNB had been given was revoked.

"I haven't heard anything from the university," she said. "I heard directly from my professor, she reached out to me right away ... and told me that unfortunately the funding had been revoked."

The provincial SEED program — it stands for Student Employment Experience Development — provides funding for student summer employment.

An email from the university's student employment program officer to professors that was obtained by CBC says positions that had been approved were going to be taken off the New Brunswick SEED website.

'There was an error made'

"There was an error made," reads the email from Jessica Bourque. "UNB was only supposed to have four positions for all of the University and we had a total of 75 positions posted on their website.

"This was just caught today and on the bright side, we ended up getting 20 positions, which was similar to last year."

According to another email obtained by CBC from the Department of Post Secondary Education, Training and Labour, UNB will still keep four positions per department.

But the students who lost their SEED positions will have to find new ones, and the deadline to maintain their funding is May 8.

"We finally have sort of won this lottery," said Vaswani. "I've been applying for four years now. This is the first time I've gotten one and ... I was thinking, 'Oh this is great. My summer is going to be really manageable and I'm going to be able to go into my next academic year with potentially some money saved up.'"

Vaswani worries now that this may not be the case.

According to a UNB spokesperson, the university was initially approved for 75 positions.

"And so far, more than 20 positions have been filled," Claire Geldart said. "But hiring is still ongoing and so it is not possible at this point to tell how many positions will end up being funded through SEED," 

The Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour has not commented.