A campaign to encourage people who have left north Wales to return home has been a success, with two Welsh families already coming back to live and work here as a result of the campaign, and several other people in talks to do the same.
The "Dewch yn ol" campaign, which ran for 3 months from January 2021, targeted talent who left Wales for work or education but wanted to come back. The message was to return to the region to live, work or set up a business, showing that North Wales is an area that offers well-paid, with plenty of support for new start-ups.
Run by M-SParc in partnership with the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, Llwyddo'n Lleol, Bangor University, Darogan Talent, Gwynedd and Anglesey County Councils and others, the campaign has certainly reached its goal of bringing local talent back and continues to support those looking to make the journey home.
Many people across the UK with links to North Wales responded to the campaign and expressed their interest in returning to live, work or start a business here, demonstrating that the opportunities and support provided by M- SParc and partners are an attractive proposition to bring people back to the region.
Originally from Anglesey but having moved away due to work for some years, Catrin Owen had already decided that she wanted to return home one day, and detailed how excited she was to see the offer from M-SParc:
"I was born and grew up on Anglesey, but I lived in Brighton for 4four years, and before that in Cardiff." Says Catrin. “My partner and I had decided that coming back to Anglesey was the intention one day. We feel that there is nowhere like North Wales, with the best beaches and Snowdonia not far away!
“During the pandemic, we were keeping an eye on what was going on in the digital world in North Wales, and it was exciting to hear about the community at M-SParc. I'm co-founder of a company, Kopa, a creative and business strategy agency that combines these two things to build growing brands.” Catrin now lives and works in her area.
Originally from Caernarfon, Rhodri Farrer had been working in West Cumbria since graduating from Liverpool John Moores University in 2016, but his interest in the campaign enabled M-SParc to refer him to a job with Faun Trackway, Llangefni, where he now works. Here’s what Rhodri had to say about it all:
"When I started working in the nuclear sector, the intention was to come back to Anglesey to work on Wylfa Newydd, but since that was cancelled I've been looking for other jobs closer to home, but with no luck because either the job just isn't a good fit for me, or I don't know about opportunities.
“I saw this campaign advertised on LinkedIn and immediately signed up. We had a chat asking what kind of help I needed, followed by several emails about opportunities that came up - most of which I hadn't seen elsewhere such as Indeed.
“Coming back is important to me because my partner has put up with me working away for years, and I have a business that I run with my brothers that I could contribute a lot more if I were home. I have a longing for the area in general, and I wouldn't have left in the first place but for better work prospects, especially in the engineering sector. It's great to see that those opportunities are starting to come to the fore here in north Wales.”
Pryderi ap Rhisiart, Managing Director of M-SParc, said this about the campaign:
“We were already very excited about this special campaign, and to see the work having a positive impact on attracting our best talent back to the region is wonderful. It's also great to see Welsh speakers coming back to the region, because we already know that there is a shortage of people with those skills in the sector.
"It's an old story that rural areas like Anglesey, Gwynedd and Conwy are losing young people as they move away for higher education and jobs - but our intention with this campaign was to try to change the common belief that there are no jobs and facilities here and show that opportunities are available and facilitate the way for people to return.
“With our young people staying away it means that north Wales is deprived of talent and skills at a time when they are really needed. We therefore felt the time was right for a campaign like this, and the impact it has had so far has clearly been positive.”
Alwen Williams, Portfolio Director for the North Wales Ambition Board added:
“One of our main goals as an Ambition Board is to keep young people in North Wales. Through the North Wales Growth Deal projects, we aim to increase employment and skills opportunities in our area and attract individuals to stay here to live and work.
"It's been great to hear the stories of individuals coming back to North Wales through this campaign, and I hope we get to see more of this in the years to come."
M-SParc and partners will continue the campaign and anyone interested is invited to visit the M-SParc website to learn more.