FUTURE CQ: Gladstone youths speak out about opportunity
FOR many Gladstone school leavers, the choice to stay or move is one of the biggest decisions they'll have to make.
While the majority of youths do move to seek greater opportunities, two former students believe the city offers pathways to help retain the young population.
Chanel College graduate Sam Reynolds said leaving Gladstone was necessary for her to achieve personal goals.
"The opportunities that were available in Brisbane for uni were more aligned with what I wanted to do,” Ms Reynolds said.
In 2015 she started a business and journalism degree at the Queensland University of Technology at Kelvin Grove.
While some of Ms Reynolds's friends also moved south, she said she knew a lot of people who bucked the trend.
"They got full-time jobs and stayed in Gladstone,” she said.
Those friends went to work in sales, apprenticeships or studied locally, then graduated and gained employment in the region.
"Honestly there's a plethora (of pathways they took),” Ms Reynolds said.
"It just depends on what people want to do.”
Double-degree student Hayley Jordison made the decision to stay and study in Gladstone and said she believed she hadn't missed out on opportunities.
She is studying business and accounting at CQUniversity and also working for the family business at Betta Home Living at Clinton.
"I decided to stay back and work for them full time while I'm studying,” Ms Jordison said.
A major factor was the ability to save money while studying.
"I found a lot of my friends who had moved to Brisbane weren't able to save money and were struggling quite a bit living in the city,” she said.
Ms Jordison said she believed there were plenty of career opportunities for those who decide to stay.
"I think it's fine,” she said.
"When I was studying via open distance (education) I found I didn't miss out on too much.”
While Ms Jordison admitted study resources were not as abundant in the region as for her city counterparts, it didn't affect her too much.
Ms Reynolds also disagreed youth needed to move out of Gladstone to gain a better quality of life.
"If you want to stay, you can stay - there's nothing stopping you from going or staying,” she said.
Ms Reynolds was able to take up opportunities in Brisbane that were available to her at school in Gladstone - including participating in musical events and representing her school and region in sports.
Ms Reynolds has also not ruled out moving back to Gladstone.
"If the right opportunity at the right time arose, I would come back,” she said.
After working with the Coffee Club in Brisbane for a few years, Ms Reynolds is now moving to Canada and has started her own travel blog SR&CO Travel.