REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Regional Australia: We're plugging the brain drain

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by The Advocate journalist Lachlan Bennett in Burnie.

Tap into those brains: When young people leave regional areas they often take with them the new ideas but it needn't be the way.

Tap into those brains: When young people leave regional areas they often take with them the new ideas but it needn't be the way.

You've probably heard the story of the starry-eyed country kid who packs their bags and moves to the big city.

When this tale is told in movies and books, the kid often thrives in their new urban home (after dabbling in a few sins of the city, of course).

But when this story plays out in real life, it has an impact on regional communities.

When young people leave regional areas they often take with them the new ideas, valuable skills and local knowledge that can help their home towns prosper into the future.

This is why I love the "regional study hub" that opened last weekend on the remote West Coast of Tasmania.

SOCIAL AND STUDIOUS: Tasmanian university students Eleanor Strang and Justine Kerr are among those to take advantage of the new study hub on the West Coast. Picture: Emma Dorling Photography

SOCIAL AND STUDIOUS: Tasmanian university students Eleanor Strang and Justine Kerr are among those to take advantage of the new study hub on the West Coast. Picture: Emma Dorling Photography

There's nothing revolutionary about the concept - it's just a study space with free wifi and a bit of academic support. But it aims to keep people in their local community while studying at university or TAFE.

Regional study hubs are opening at 23 locations around Australia, from Goulburn to Geraldton, and it's one way to plug the "brain drain".

And there are other great ideas across the country, some that aren't as extreme as paying university students to study in Bendigo.

There's the Bathurst High student who will work with the NSW Education Department to implement positive changes for schools and the Shark Tank-style STEMprenuer program nurturing young people in communities such as Ballarat.

CREATIVE THINKING: Philippa Rupapera, Myiesh De Leon and Phoebe Walter brainstorm as part of the NBN STEMpreneur initiative in Ballarat. Picture: Adam Trafford

CREATIVE THINKING: Philippa Rupapera, Myiesh De Leon and Phoebe Walter brainstorm as part of the NBN STEMpreneur initiative in Ballarat. Picture: Adam Trafford

There are also initiatives to help those who move to regional areas give back to their community, like the digital technology program for migrants run out of Shepparton.

Although perhaps lessons on smoke alarms might be required for new residents of Warrnambool, so you don't have firefighters show up at your 13-year-old daughter's birthday party!

See below to read more about what's going on beyond the big cities.

Lachlan Bennett, The Advocate

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