PLANED CEO, Iwan Thomas recently took part in a joint Cardiff University, IWA debate: “Brain Drain or Growing Wings: should more be done to ensure Welsh students study in Wales?”
The well attended event discussed if Wales is in the grip of a ‘brain drain’ and should more be done to ensure Welsh students study in Wales. Figures from the Resolution Foundation in 2017 suggested we were, with thousands more graduates leaving Wales than arriving between 2013 and 2016.
Speaking about the debate, Iwan said:
“Looking at this from a rural perspective we at PLANED are very aware of the impact this is having on our communities. We know from our work with the Prince’s Countryside Fund on the UK wide research project ‘Recharging Rural’, that outmigration of young people is identified as a “top 5” issue across rural area in the UK, and is seen as a natural result of a mix of poor job prospects and weak digital connectivity.
“PLANED is working in Pembrokeshire to help our communities take action themselves to address this issue. We want to make sure the right mix of factors are present. This ranges from our DATRIS project; working across the generations to connect people with digital skills. Supporting our young people to improve their health and wellbeing, and to enable them to have their voices heard in decision making as part of our Community Wellbeing and Resilience project.
“We have also just launched a PLANED Bursary to help support a young person from the county in the higher education studies. With small businesses being at the heart of many communities, it was useful to promote the PLANED Bursary at the debate, to show how we, with our business partners in Pembrokeshire, are looking to support young people entering higher education. The Bursary will focus on sectors aligned to our economic priorities here within Pembrokeshire. It was also useful to raise the issue regarding the need to also focus on upskilling and supporting the current workforce within our communities, in order to create a fluid and flexible labour market that creates openings for graduates in employment.”