Sectarian segregation and lack of political stability are the main reasons for the “brain drain”, according to Think Tan

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Talented young people are leaving Northern Ireland, according to a new study, due to “unresolved local issues” including current segregation, community relations and centuries-old political debates.

Led by think tank Pivotal, the new research found that educational migration out of the North is as much about escaping local problems as it is looking for opportunities elsewhere.

The lingering effects of sectarian segregation and the lack of political stability and maturity in Stormont are the main reasons why so many high performing young people leave school after school and never come back.

It has been found that although young people find broader university options and better short and long term employment prospects available elsewhere, the poor state of community relations in the North scares them as much as the promise of education. varied and higher potential salaries. to attract them elsewhere.

Based on the research results, Pivotal made a number of recommendations.

This includes calling on Stormont’s executive to strategize to deal with the loss and make it a key priority for policymakers.

He also calls on people, as a society, to recognize the impact of his poor relationship with the community and for the executive to demonstrate that they are working collectively to move Northern Ireland forward.

In addition, the think tank also recommends a comprehensive review of the financing of higher education in the north, with a view to providing enough places for an appropriate range of courses at universities.

Ann Watt, director of Pivotal, said what was most “striking” about the research was that “young people don’t leave just because they think they have more academic choices or better economic prospects elsewhere.

“They are also choosing to study elsewhere due to community divisions and bigotry in Northern Ireland,” she said.

“In addition, young people are leaving because they believe that politicians and the political debate in Northern Ireland do not represent them and do not share their views on the most important political issues.”

Ms Watt said the “lack of action” around economic migration “must change”.

“Building a thriving economy that is more attractive and offers better and better paying jobs is not something that can be done overnight,” she said.

“Gradual reductions in economic migration should go hand in hand with a healthier labor market. There is also no silver bullet to fixing community relations in Northern Ireland.

“However, better political leadership would go a long way to both improving these relations and changing the way Northern Ireland speaks for itself – as a place that looks to the future and willing to do the best for it. itself and for all of its inhabitants in the fast-changing modern world, rather than somewhere that cannot go beyond binary bigotry or arguments about the past “.

She added: “Reducing economic migration by addressing some of these concerns would be transformative for Northern Ireland.”

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