South Scotland

Dumfries and Galloway youth exodus 'warning shot' claim

Dumfries and Galloway sign Image copyright Billy McCrorie
Image caption Thousands of young people told the study they intended to leave the region

A study of young people in south west Scotland has been branded a "warning shot" to the council and employers.

More than 10,000 people took part in the survey in Dumfries and Galloway, carried out as part of the Year of Young People in 2018.

It found that 55% of those questioned said they intended to leave the region in the future.

Councillor Adam Wilson said the outcome of the 10,000 Voices consultation was a real concern.

"I think there is a warning shot because if a number of young people leave and do not come back we will see a number of crises across our region," he said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Wilson said they needed to do more to make the region attractive for young people

He said that, at the moment, there were recruitment crises in the public sector and private firms were also struggling to hire people.

"We are going to have a huge demand on social care over the next decade and beyond," he added.

"If we do not keep our young people here, or attract young people to stay here and to grow their families and to work, we are going to face these crises.

"We have that warning shot today and we can start to take meaningful action to address that."

Mr Wilson said it was important officials acted on the findings of the report.

'Grow economy'

He said a whole range of bodies - including the planned new enterprise agency - needed to be involved.

"There are a lot of ways in which we can try to grow our economy but make sure that we deliver for our young people," he said.

Mr Wilson said that included looking at the likes of public transport and leisure facilities.

He asked: "How can we make our region a better and more attractive place to live?

"But also how can we help to grow the economy and make sure that young people are aware of the opportunities for employment that are available at present but also ones that may occur in the future?"

Council leader Elaine Murray said the study was an "outstanding piece of work".

"It will be invaluable in shaping appropriate region-wide services for young people over the next five years," she said.

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