Nova Scotia residents talk why they choose to live and work in province

CBC's Mainstreet Halifax talks with four young workers who are thriving in Nova Scotia

Earlier this week Danny Graham, the chief engagement officer of Engage Nova Scotia, wrote about a survey of a thousand Nova Scotians that asked them to rate Nova Scotia as a place to live.

About three-quarters of people aged 55 and older gave Nova Scotia an eight, nine, or 10 out of 10. Only half of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 gave the province top marks.

CBC Radio's Mainstreet brought together four people under the age of 40 to talk about why they've chosen to make their futures here and what it takes to succeed.

Here's some of what they told him.

Wes Booth, 24

Wes Booth

Wes Booth says it takes a lot of persistence to make it in Nova Scotia. (Submitted by Wes Booth)

Wes Booth is from Wolfville. The 24-year-old has an interest in digital marketing, founded We Are N.S., and started a campaign calledBluenoser By Choice.

Booth traveled across Nova Scotia last summer talking with people about their attitudes toward the province.

"For example, someone who realized that she didn't want to leave Nova Scotia after graduating ... she applied to a hundred different jobs, she was willing to go to any part of the province," he said.

"She was very fortunate because of her persistence, which I would say that most millennials wouldn't be willing to do.

"She was actually able to land her ideal dream job. But there was a process. It took time. It wasn't easy. And I think a lot of people might have given up along the way."  

Zabrina Whitman, 28

Zabrina Whitman

Zabrina Whitman worked in Egypt and New York before returning to Nova Scotia. (Submitted by Zabrina Whitman)

Zabrina Whitman is a Mi'kmaq senior policy analyst. She's originally from Lawrencetown in the Annapolis Valley, but she worked in Egypt and New York before returning to Nova Scotia.

Whitman says most of her peers have left Nova Scotia for better economic opportunities.

"What made me miss Nova Scotia the most was my family, the clean air, and the beauty of Nova Scotia ... and that's why I choose to be here because of all those factors and that support system," said Whitman.

She said she loves her job, but others struggle with the process of finding fulfilling work.

"You have to work really hard in order to be willing to stay in Nova Scotia. And you might have to travel all across the province in order to get a job, and it might not actually be the job that you want. And so for some of my friends, their priority was ensuring that they have economic success and build toward a future. And for me my priorities are a bit different."

Jaime Battiste, 36

Jamie Battiste

Jamie Battiste says a lot of young people in his community want to stay in Nova Scotia. (Submitted by Jamie Battiste)

Jaime Battiste works for the provincial government and Mi'kmaq chiefs. His job entails creating relationships and raising awareness about treaties and Mi'kmaq perspectives on history.

Battiste lives in Eskasoni and says he rarely sees young people leaving the community.

"I've rarely seen out-migration out of the community. I find the people here, especially the young people, continue to want to be around, and practise their culture, their language, they choose to remain close to their family members," Battiste said.

Battiste says staying close to family is a big priority for younger people from his community, as is staying connected to their culture and language.

"You know they love the environment. They have a connection with the environment whether it's fishing in the rivers, or hunting, or making a living in the woods, they've always found ways whether its through crafts or things to get by."

Laura Swaine, 32

Laura Swaine

Laura Swaine says youth need to be more engaged. (Submitted by Laura Swaine)

​Laura Swaine is the executive director of Heartwood Centre for Community Youth Development, which works on community engagement and leadership, across the province, with young people aged 14 and up.

"If we're talking about making change, looking towards the future, we have to put youth front and centre. They have to be at the table.

"I think the [the conversations engaging youth] that are happening now, it's out of sort of a knee-jerk reaction of how do we reach out to these young people, and where do we go, and who do we talk to," Swaine said.

"Lots of people are scrambling for ways and places where they can get some feedback from young people, but youth engagement's challenging, it's complex, and it's hard and it takes time and commitment."

With files from CBC's Mainstreet Halifax

This article was originally posted on on April 20, 2016. Reposted with permission.


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