I live in a small town in Bulgaria called Polski Trambesh, which has been suffering from a serious degree of depopulation. Young people are leaving the town and as a result the population is growing increasingly older. This problem has been becoming more and more severe for several years now and it is showing no signs of slowing down. In spite of its severity, the local government has not yet taken any measures to alleviate the issue. Still, it is not too late to do something about it and reverse the negative effects. As there is no university in the town, year after year the large majority of high school graduates leave in order to pursue higher education. The issue of the aging population stems from the fact that even after graduation virtually none of the students return apart from the occasional family visit.
Essentially, most of the young and capable people leave at the first opportunity they can find and all that is left is the middle-aged and elderly workers and the retirees. As a result, the local workforce is thinning out at a frighteningly rapid pace and if this process continues, the town will not be able to sustain itself. This process can be likened to brain drain except on a smaller scale. Therefore, without a steady inflow of manpower to replace the retiring workers, Polski Trambesh will continue to deteriorate.
But what prompts young people to move out permanently rather than stay and work here? If you ask around, you will likely receive only one answer – “There are just not enough career opportunities in this small town.” I have heard this exact same phrase uttered by graduates and peers countless times. However, the more potential workers leave for this very reason, the more local businesses and companies suffer. This in turn means that prospects of employment only worsen, making it even less likely that anyone would willingly stay to work in this town. It is a never-ending vicious cycle. Nevertheless, it might not be an inescapable one.
The only way to combat this problem of depopulation is to tackle it directly at its roots. In other words, young people should be persuaded that they can build a fine career even in Polski Trambesh. In fact, this town does actually have plenty of local businesses and companies to provide work. The only logical conclusion is that young adults simply prefer what other firms in big cities offer them. I believe that in order to reverse the depopulation crisis some sort of project will have to be put in place to benefit potential future members of the workforce.
My proposal for local companies and the municipality is to attempt to secure workers as soon as they graduate from high school. The plan I have in mind involves establishing a program which aims to benefit both parties by resolving some of their greatest issues. Businesses wish to avoid not having enough capable and professional employees while young people often have monetary struggles and fear financial insecurity. A program which covers a percentage or even all tuition fees of a student’s university degree in exchange for a long-term work contract at the company appears ideal in this situation. It allows a firm to recruit talented, hard-working young people and rewards them with a full scholarship. After the contract has ended, they can choose to continue working at the company but even if they decide to move away the next generation of young people will fill their position. As long as there is a steady flow of trained workers the companies and the town can flourish.
In conclusion, the depopulation problem of Polski Trambesh is not an insoluble issue. A crisis can be averted as long as the youth can be convinced to remain in the town and work towards prosperity. Of course, they cannot be blamed if they wish to seek a better life so a solid reason has to be provided for them to stay. The proposed program cannot encompass every youth but it can persuade some of the most talented and hard-working people to choose this town over bigger cities. Considering that the program only needs to last until the economic situation improves, it can be viewed as an investment in the local community.
Describe yourself in 5 words?
Rational, open-minded, generous, polite, and honest.
What are your top 5 values (principles or standards of behavior)?
Loyalty, perseverance, tolerance, respect and honesty.
What are you most proud of and why?
I am most proud of the twelve years I’ve spent learning folklore dancing, which is a tradition that is a major part of Bulgarian culture. However, it has been in decline in recent times and I am proud to be one of the people still keeping it alive.