The study, published last week by Chartered Accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young, stated that the vast majority of seaside towns, including Weymouth, are struggling economically due to decades of decline in their traditional coastal industries and a failure to attract economic growth sectors such as finance and technology.
As a consequence, young professionals are forced to leave their seaside homes for higher growth parts of the UK in order to find employment. The Breaker spoke to three young professionals from Weymouth who have left the town in order to start their careers.
Graduates do not return home
Levente Nagy, 22, had lived in Weymouth for five years before he left to study Biomedical Sciences at the University of Chester.
He now works as a Microbiologist in Cheshire and said if he hadn’t left the town, he would struggle to find work in this field.
“There’s not those sorts of opportunities nearby (to Weymouth), since it’s usually in industrial and science parks they tend to be nearer to large cities.”
Hannah Kelly, 22, an Energy Specialist in Leicester, had lived in Weymouth all her life before she left to study Sport Science at Bangor University but said the lack of opportunities in Weymouth led to her staying away after graduation.
“I couldn’t find a job that wasn’t in hospitality or retail and if there was one, it didn’t pay enough to move out.”
“For most people with a degree there’s not many opportunities.”
University students aren’t the only ones affected
Bethany Parker, 22, had also lived in Weymouth all her life before she left the area to find employment as a Health Care Support Worker in the community in Southampton.
“I moved away from Weymouth to create my career in nursing and I feel that moving to Southampton has been the best move I could have made.”
“There are a lack of jobs and there just isn’t much opportunity anymore. A lot of places want people with work experience but aren’t willing to give young people a chance to gain that.”
The UHY Hacker Young study comes just a few weeks after a BBC study found that workers living in seaside towns earn £1,600 less per year than those living elsewhere in the United Kingdom.
What’s the solution?
Peter Kubik, turnaround and recovery partner at UHY Hacker Young, said in the report many coastal areas in need of further investment.
“Increased funding from central government, far in excess of the levels they are currently getting, could be key to tacking local economic decline in many of these areas.”
A major report on the regeneration of seaside towns published by the House of Lords earlier this year said it isn’t as simple as simply increasing investment.
Lord Bassam of Brighton, Chairman of the Committee which published the report, said: “A single solution to their economic and social challenges doesn’t exist”.
“What is needed is a package of strategic initiatives and interventions where national and local government work together to address issues such as transport, housing, post-school education and high-speed broadband.”