26 April 2012
Lack of transport and communications hits Southwest youth
A lack of transport and unreliable communications are two major factors limiting youth engagement in rural Glenelg and Southern Grampians shires.
That's one of the key findings of a three-year $500,000 RMIT University Hamilton Campus study on the needs of youth in the two shires that worked with 120 youths aged 12 to 20.
Dr Sean MacDermott, Research Fellow, said that education was the biggest concern of young people in both shires.
He said the findings showed that young people acknowledged the limitations of rural life, yet they valued the benefits of living away from the city.
"They perceive the country as safer, cleaner and providing more opportunities to get away on their own for a while, without adults being concerned. They value this as a freedom not available to their urban counterparts," Dr MacDermott said.
"They covet access to the big events held in cities, but are glad to avoid the pollution and violence which they associate with city life.
"At the same time, they must negotiate access to connection - with parents for transport and for time to access the internet and phones - which are key conduits for rural social engagement for young people."
Dr MacDermott said the report was the latest update of the Landscapes for Young People in Glenelg and Southern Grampians Shires.
"It is widely believed that young people cannot wait to move away from rural areas, but they actually see a lot of positives there - such as clean air," he said.
"As a whole community, we really have to begin to take seriously issues impacting on our young rural people. This report is one way of encouraging that discussion."
The full report will be presented by Dr MacDermott at the Southern Grampians Network Meeting at 10am, Wednesday, 2 May, at RMIT Hamilton.
The study was funded by the Victorian Department of Planning and Community Development, the Glenelg and Southern Grampians Local Learning and Employment Network and the Glenelg and Southern Grampians shires.
For general media enquiries: Michelle van Loggerenberg, Communications Project Officer, RMIT Hamilton (03) 5572 0505 or 0430 382 432.