In the Senedd this week, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have raised concerns over the lack of opportunities being made available to young people living in rural Wales.
A recent survey from Aberystwyth University found that four in ten young people in rural Wales expect to be living outside of Wales in five years’ time.
The same survey found that over 40% would prefer to remain living in their home region, but moving away was seen as necessary to achieve their career goals.
The Welsh Lib Dems have called on the Welsh Government to improve employment access for young people by subsidising rural transport.
Commenting, the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds MS said: “There is a clear desire from our young people of wanting to stay and develop their careers here in Wales but the opportunities are just not there.
“At the same time, we know that skill shortages are acting as a stopper on investment and growth in Wales.
“Research from the Federation of Small Businesses found that 80% of small firms struggled to recruit in the past 12 months. While the Institute of Employment Studies found that 42% of employers named “lack of skills” as the main reason why they do not hire young people.
“There is a real mismatch between the aspirations of our rural youth and the needs of our local industries and small businesses.
“It is critical that the Welsh Government helps foster local skills in our rural areas, opening employment access to young people, so they aren’t forced to look elsewhere to pursue their dream careers.
“By exploring the possibility of subsidising transport fares for young people, as we suggested in our recent manifesto, we as a nation could open more opportunities for our young people.
“By helping our young people stay in their home regions with their talents for the foreseeable future, we all benefit.”