Young peo­ple want to stay in the High­lands

The Oban Times - - News -

MORE young peo­ple are choos­ing to stay in the High­lands. A re­port com­mis­sioned byHigh­lands and Is­lands En­ter­prise (HIE) said an in­creas­ing num­ber of for­mer stu­dents are choos­ing to stay in the north as it of­fers them ‘op­por­tu­nity, qual­ity of life and strong com­mu­nity links’.

Of the 4,409 peo­ple aged be­tween 15 and 30 sur­veyed, 43 per cent said they were com­mit­ted to stay­ing in the High­lands and Is­lands longterm and 50 per cent cur­rently liv­ing out­side the re­gion said they are in­ter­ested in liv­ing here in the fu­ture.

Com­mu­nity spirit is a strong lure to the north, as 78 per cent of peo­ple sur­veyed ex­pressed pride in their com­mu­nity.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, 57 per cent of peo­ple said they would be happy to at­tend col­lege or univer­sity here, while 56 per cent said the re­gion has a good ‘ed­u­ca­tional of­fer­ing’.

High­land youth con­venor, Shaun Fin­layson, said: ‘It’s fan­tas­tic to see that the High­lands is ca­pa­ble of re­tain­ing a large amount of its young peo­ple and even draw­ing in young peo­ple from else­where.’

But work to keep young peo­ple in the area is not over, said Car­roll Bux­ton, HIE di­rec­tor for re­gional de­vel­op­ment.

She added: ‘ This re­port is very en­cour­ag­ing, but we need to con­tinue to cre­ate more op­por­tu­ni­ties in both ed­u­ca­tion and em­ploy­ment. We are work­ing with univer­si­ties to ex­pand the pro­vi­sion of un­der­grad­u­ate cour­ses linked to re­gional ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties in sec­tors such as life sciences, cre­ative in­dus­tries, energy and food and drink.

‘De­vel­op­ing in­fra­struc­ture, trans­port links and ac­cess to dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy is help­ing to make the re­gion a more at­trac­tive op­tion for young peo­ple.’

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