COUNTRY KID: Amber Turcato, 22, of Tullera, left the country for the city and is back again studying at SCU Lismore campus. Pic
COUNTRY KID: Amber Turcato, 22, of Tullera, left the country for the city and is back again studying at SCU Lismore campus. Pic

Country ?brain drain? hurts

By AARON BERTRAM

staredit@northernstar.com.au

A NEW report has found that almost half of Australia's young people raised in regional areas soon move away to the city.

But for Amber Turcato, there's no place like home.

"I have wonderful memories of growing up in Tullera, running around on the farm and going for swims at Whian Whian falls," Amber, a first-year nursing student at Southern Cross University, said.

"But I can understand why people leave.

"It's hard to get work here."

A new report from the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) studied the geographic mobility of 5000 young Australians between 1997 and 2004, when they were aged 16 to 23.

The survey found that 40 per cent left their country homes to pursue educational opportunities at universities and TAFES, as well as taking up apprenticeships.

Others left simply to try something new and broaden their horizons, as well as seeking full-time employment.

That's why Amber left Lismore and lived in Brisbane for three years.

"I was doing shift work at McDonald's and working as a home carer for the elderly and diabled, but I just couldn't get enough work," she said.

"It was a bit scary moving to a big city where I didn't know anyone, but I needed a full-time job."

While working in Brisbane, Amber built on her homecaring experience and attained a Certificate 3 qualification as an Assistant in Nursing.

And while she had an exciting stay in Brisbane, she was happy to get back to her family to do her three-year nursing degree.

According to the ACER report, she's not alone.

But although some young people do return to the country when they have finished their education, a quarter stay in the cities for good.

ACER chief executive Professor Geoff Masters said young people were likely to continue leaving for further education in the cities.



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