Is Sampling The Right Way To Attract Rural Workers?

Is Sampling The Right Way To Attract Rural Workers?
A new scheme to encourage graduates to work in rural areas sounds worthy, but there’s a good chance that it might backfire.

The Brolga Project (nice Aussie name but a terrible acronym: Building Regional Opportunities, Leveraging from Graduates in Australia) sets up work experience placements for university students in rural locations. The idea is that some of those students will find the unexpected joys of life at a quieter pace (and with cheaper real estate) so attractive that they’ll return to those areas

There’s no doubt that getting skilled workers into more remote areas can be a real struggle, and on that level it’s got to be worth a try. However, there’s part of me that suspects this isn’t going to make much difference really. People who like the idea of living the big smoke will probably pursue it anyway, while some students who do try it out will probably find the altered pace of life so dull they’ll be itching to get back to an urban environment.

But I’ll throw this one open to the readers. Is offering students work experience placements in regional areas a good way to attract skills to those areas? (To make my own position clear: I spent the first 21 years of my life in a regional community and that was enough.)

The Brolga Project


  • I too originally grew up in a rural area ( Went to school with 6 kids ) I still think the program has some merit. Most country guys end up with women who have come out to country to be a teacher or nurse for a stint then stay. This really is the same. It gives people a small window of how good country life can be. I would return but my occupation limits where I can work

  • I’d happily take a change in pace, lifestyle and relocate the family to a country area but don’t fit into the “recent” graduate category. A careers site that had seachange job opportunities would be a good addition to the project.

  • If you can get students to experience rural living then there’s a fair chance they will stay. I am a lecturer at Charles Sturt University and those city students that study our courses face to face in a regional location such as accounting, vet science and now dentistry are far more likely to stay in regional locations. Obviously comments like the “altered pace of life is so dull” in regional areas is stereotypical and many students and graduates are surprised at the cultural life and events that take place in rural areas. In cities like Bathurst you are only 2.5 hours away from ANZ stadium and and 3 hours from the city so you can easily travel down for sporting events and concerts if you want to.

  • As an ex-teacher who had to do a country stint I couldn’t wait to get back to the city. I hated every minute of country life. I wouldn’t call myself a big city girl and neither do I like the night life. But the absolute lack of shopping and things to do other than sport and church bored me to tears.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with getting students to do work experience in the country but I don’t think many will be induced to return.

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