The SDLP’s Economy Spokesperson, Daniel McCrossan, has said that statistics published by the Department for the Economy demonstrate a concerning “brain drain of the North’s best and brightest young people.”
The figures published this week show that over a third of students from Northern Ireland chose to leave for university.
Information from the Department’s Destination of Leavers statistics last year demonstrated that over two thirds of those who leave will not come back.
Mr McCrossan commented: “It’s no shock to rural communities across the North that so many young people are leaving our shores to find a life elsewhere.
“We have towns and villages that have been decimated by the brain drain that sees our best and brightest leave their home in search of somewhere new to learn, live and set up a new life.
“The latest figures show that over one in three of our young people going to university will choose to leave this island. Even more worrying, last year’s statistics from the Department for the Economy show that over two thirds of those who leave won’t come back,” he added.
“It is a shameful reality that the North’s most precious export is now our young people.”
He added: “We need to build a society that encourages young people to explore their horizons, to travel, learn and live with other communities and cultures but then to feel comfortable bringing that experience home and using it to improve this place.”