Good news that young peo­ple want to stay in Lochaber

The Oban Times - - YOUR VIEWS -

De­pop­u­la­tion of the High­lands and Is­lands has long been a cause for con­cern, es­pe­cially as the trend has been for the area’s bright young peo­ple to leave their homes and move to the cities.

So it is very wel­come news, as we re­port this week, that an in­creas­ing num­ber of young peo­ple now see their fu­ture in the Lochaber area.

The data has been made pub­lic fol­low­ing re­search by High­lands and Is­lands En­ter­prise (HIE), which con­ducted a sur­vey into the at­ti­tudes and as­pi­ra­tions of 3,130 young peo­ple aged 15 to 30 in the re­gion.

The change is due to a num­ber of rea­sons, in­clud­ing the devel­op­ment of the Univer­sity of the High­lands and Is­lands (UHI), which has pro­vided high-qual­ity fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion at a num­ber of lo­ca­tions in­clud­ing Fort Wil­liam, negat­ing the re­quire­ment for young peo­ple to move to the cen­tral belt or the north-east.

Ly­dia Rohmer, prin­ci­pal and chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Fort Wil­liam col­lege, was quite right to be up­beat about the re­port’s find­ings but also to warn against com­pla­cency, say­ing that ‘much re­mains still to do’.

The area is head­ing in the right di­rec­tion and there are fur­ther de­vel­op­ments to en­hance UHI in the pipe­line, in­clud­ing the planned Cen­tre for Science, Tech­nol­ogy Health and En­gi­neer­ing, due to be built at Blar Mhor by Septem­ber 2020.

Ms Rhomer also said: ‘Our unique, spe­cial­ist port­fo­lio of cour­ses up to de­gree level in our School of Ad­ven­ture Stud­ies con­tin­ues to not only pro­vide out­stand­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for lo­cal young peo­ple to de­velop skills for fu­ture em­ploy­ment and en­trepreneur­ship, but it also at­tracts num­bers of young peo­ple from out­side the High­lands who want to live study, live and work here, con­tribut­ing to the eco­nomic growth of the area in the fu­ture.’

The fu­ture looks bright in­deed.

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