Results of a survey of Okanagan university and college alumni show we must be doing something right in the Valley.
Contrary to long-held beliefs that graduates can't wait to flee the Okanagan in search of fortune in the big city, the Okanagan Young Professionals Collective survey clearly showed that we are graduating students who want to stay in the Valley and build both a career and family here.
That is encouraging news, both economically and socially for the Okanagan.
The survey of students and alumni from Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan found that 63 per cent "probably to definitely" plan on staying in the Valley.
Fifty-eight per cent of alumni did stay in the Valley after graduation.
Of those who have left, 60 per cent expressed interest in returning to the Valley after a few years, citing jobs, quality of life and arts, culture and entertainment as their top priorities.
Just like their parents, our young folk are enamoured with the Okanagan for its desirable lifestyle, with these priorities out-ranking cost of living and housing prices.
Of those wishing to return, 43 per cent said their motivating factor was either marriage or starting a family.
We'd have to agree - who wouldn't want to raise their children here?
Twenty per cent of students plan to leave because of what they perceive to be an inadequte social scene and only 12.8 per cent of students and 7.3 per cent of alumni view the Valley as too conservative or old-fashioned.
The retention of our brightest and most ambitious young minds can only bode well for the future of the entire Okanagan. These are are our future employers and entrepreneurs, the people who will drive the local economy and continue to make this such a great place to call home.
- Managing Editor