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New research outlines positive perception of young Orcadians

06 November 2015

A new report on the attitudes and aspirations of young people in Orkney indicates they are extremely proud members of their community and are positive about where they live.
The survey found 93 per cent of young Orcadians were proud to associate themselves with their local community – the highest, along with Shetland, of all areas surveyed in the Highlands and Islands.
Other highlights include evidence that 15-30 year olds in Orkney are strongly engaged in community events, clubs, groups and other volunteering activity – more so than the region overall. Orkney is also perceived more positively by its young people than is the case for many other parts of the Highlands and Islands. It rates as the highest of all areas regionally as a good place to live as a young person.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) commissioned the research to establish patterns and trends that result in the out-migration of young people. Views were elicited on a number of subjects from education, employment and digital connectivity to transport, housing and community involvement. Reasons for staying or leaving were also investigated as well as future aspirations.
Of the 216 young Orcadians taking part, more than half (58 per cent) described themselves as committed stayers, the highest across all the areas in the H&I. In all, 65 per cent of Orkney’s young people surveyed indicated they would like to be living locally at 35 years old – almost double the regional average.
A much higher percentage of young Orcadians (75 per cent) also perceive there to be a good educational offering in the Highlands and Islands compared to the regional average (56 per cent). Furthermore, they are more positive about local employment and apprenticeship opportunities and views on self-employment are good as well.
Food and drink (73 per cent) and sustainable tourism (69 per cent) topped awareness of the region’s growth sectors – higher than the regional averages of 62 per cent and 60 per cent respectively. Transport was generally ranked by young Orcadians as more important than across the region as a whole in making the Highlands and Islands a more attractive place to live.
The cultural offering is also perceived as being far more available in Orkney than those responding in other parts of the Highlands and Islands.
Graeme Harrison, HIE area manager in Orkney, said: “A strong local identity and high quality of life means Orkney is an attractive area to live, work and study. While growth sectors like energy continue to offer potential, by working with our partners, we will ensure that Orkney will continue to be one of the least affected areas in the Highlands and Islands by young people leaving to seek opportunities further away.”
A full copy of the Young people in Orkney: Attitudes and aspirations report is available on the HIE website at

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