Good news that young people want to stay in Lochaber
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.