Why are Doncaster’s youth migrating out of the town?
Many young people are moving to larger cities to chase their educational and career aspirations – meaning the town lacks a new, ambitious generation.
Statistics from the national census 2011 show that Doncaster’s population is made up of only 6% 20-25-year-old’s whereas cities nearby have almost double this.
Sheffield is at 10% and Leeds 12%, there is one significant difference between those cities and Doncaster and that is their Universities.
We ran a poll on our Instagram @Donnyfp and asked our followers ‘Do you think the lack of a university effects the younger population in Doncaster?’ and 73% responded yes.
When asked if they thought Doncaster was a good place to live for young people, 69% answered no.
We also asked our followers what they’re ideas were for keeping young people in Doncaster.
@Oscarhuntt said: “Increased number of workplace apprenticeships. There is no new investment into the town.”
@Spoonermum82 said: “A university, more policing to make it safer and more jobs.”
@Bellamy_James said: “The town has to try to follow Sheffield and Leeds to drive opportunity for graduates.”
We spoke to the sixth former’s at New College in Auckley to get a perspective on how the youth of Doncaster feel about their home town.
Out of the students we met only 30% have plans to remain in Doncaster after they finish their A - levels.
Kate Watson, 18, from Wheatley Hills is an example of a young student who is moving away from the town to pursue her education.
She said:” I personally don’t see Doncaster as a place where I would be able to become a teacher and I think for many they feel that they can’t do everything they could in a large city with a university.”
Kate like many young people her age had to come to a decision on what she wanted her future career path to look like.
“As a young person I would like to be exposed to a large variety of career opportunities as choosing what I wanted to do was extremely hard.
“Doncaster could improve by highlighting successes and promoting people who have achieved something inspirational.”
We also met students who wanted to remain in their home town due to family connections and Doncaster’s great transport links.
Sam Trotter, 20, Auckley is also planning on continuing into higher education with a degree in Geography and Economics at the University of Lincoln but he will be commuting to the university campus.
He said: “A lot of my family lives in this local area but another major thing for me is I do feel Doncaster is quite connected to other cities in the area.
“But I do agree there needs to be more investment in the North, there are not enough new businesses or investment which doesn’t entice people to stay.”
We asked the student’s what it would take for them to consider remaining living in Doncaster and what they would improve if they had the chance.
Kim Casey Pena, 18, Stainforth, said: “I’d personally like Doncaster to provide cleaner public places as well as a wide range of services and facilities that can be easily accessed by everyone.
“I would like more sports opportunities to be easily accessible in Doncaster I have to go to town just to swim and would like it if there could possibly be more sports and physical activities closer to where I live.”
Jacob Acornley, 17, Warmsworth, said: “More people in the town in hopes to change the public dynamic and also ideally have Doncaster granted with city status.”
We spoke to Andy Hibbit the Education and Skills Director at Doncaster Chamber of Commerce, one of his main job roles is to bring education skills together with business.
He said: “ Doncaster at the moment is on the cusp of something great the opportunities that are available to young people in the area are truly exceptional.
“What we have a duty to do as a borough and as a business community is to raise awareness of the opportunities that are available and bring business and education closer together.”
The chamber is launching new mid tear organisation which will be named and branded over the coming months ready to launch in September in line with the new academic year.
Andy said: “It’s going to be the glue that will bring business and education closer together, we will be engaging with key stakeholders and partners in the borough.
“Ultimately we will be there as a support mechanism, we are going to paramountly engage with young people and the influencers in their lives.
“We will be working closely will local communities and showcasing the opportunities that are available for young people.”
One way they plan on doing this is by going to parents evenings and directly engaging with both teaching staff and parents, making sure children know all routes they could take in the future.
They hope to encourage apprenticeships, work experience and highlight the amenities that Doncaster has, including the High-Speed Rail College and Doncaster College.
“By raising awareness, we are also raising aspirations, showing them that there are fantastic opportunities on their doorstep,” he continued.
Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster is always an advocate for the town and its young people.
She said: “Doncaster is seeing continued focus and investment in the education and skills of our Young people.
“Doncaster College currently offers a range of both Further and Higher Education, and with the Doncaster UTC scheduled to be open from September 2020, growing numbers at the National College for High-Speed Rail, and our continued desire for Doncaster to become a University City.
“Doncaster is on the up, and we hope that these changes will see more of our young people staying within the borough and driving our borough forward further.”
“Doncaster has a range of amenities for young people, and with the opening of our renovated Wool Market, offering more evening entertainment and live music in the town centre, along with the Quality Streets Scheme, the new Cinema and new Library Museum & Cultural Centre, as part of the Urban Centre Masterplan, we will see a major increase in the offer for the people of Doncaster.”