Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross

Young people encouraged to complete survey

Young people across Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross are being encouraged to take part in a major new survey, which is underway.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has commissioned the study into the changing attitudes and aspirations of people aged 15 to 30 in relation to the Highlands and Islands, and wants to make sure the voice of young people on the west coast is heard.

The online survey will build on a similar study carried out in 2015, which demonstrated an overwhelming sense of pride and confidence in the region among the 4,400 young people who took part.

This showed that young people in Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross have strong pride in their local community, and many want to stay or return to live and work in the area. Employment opportunities, choice and chance for progression were seen as barriers, and many also felt there was an expectation for young people to leave to achieve their aspirations, especially in higher education.

The new study is exploring opportunities around education, training and employment for the age group, and how these can be maximised.

Those taking part can enter a prize draw, with prizes including tickets to Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival and Groove Loch Ness, as well as vouchers for Spotify and Netflix.

There have been more than a thousand responses to the survey so far, 116 of them from Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross.

Susan Smith, HIE’s interim area manager for the patch, said:

“Young economically active people are absolutely key to the future prosperity of our area and the Highlands and Islands generally. They are also crucial in the long-term sustainability of communities.

“This is an important study and we want to make sure the views of young people across Caithness and Sutherland are properly represented in the study.

“The findings will be shared with all our partners and will help inform policy and activities in relation to both population growth and young talent attraction and retention across the region.”

Young people can access the online survey at www.hie.co.uk/yp-research . It takes around 15 minutes to complete and is running until the end of July.

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