Living in a rural community can be fantastic. You have peace and quiet and can move at your own pace without being worried about slowing the people around you down. If you’re a parent it brings with it wonderful opportunities for your children. There are plenty of wide open spaces so they can spend more time outside riding their bikes, playing sports or simply getting some much needed fresh air.
People in rural communities tend to have a greater sense of exactly that, community. When you live in the city it’s a foreign concept that you’d knock on your neighbour’s door and become friends with them. Why would you when there are thousands of other people you can contact through work, clubs, sports or simply buying your morning coffee?
Small town folk approach things differently. Think of a small town like a club or a school. When you go to a club or school everyone somehow knows everyone and is friends with everyone. Because there are fewer people to gel with, they tend to communicate with each other better. That means if you’re in a small town you’ll think nothing of going to your neighbour’s house and knocking on their door during the day or early evening unannounced. Often people in small towns welcome the company because it’s so hard to come by.
Due to that constant interaction with the same people day in day out, they become very close with each other, so if you’re in a farming community the farmers (typically men, although more and more, women are getting into farming and agriculture) would socialise while the farmers’ wives would congregate over coffee or snacks in the house (although that is changing with women taking on farming responsibilities themselves) and then their children would become friends with each other. It becomes a very close knit community where everyone looks out for each other, so if you’re in trouble your neighbours will help you.
Of course, unfortunately there are drawbacks to living in small communities.
Where do your teenagers gain work experience? Generally if you live in a rural community, employment opportunities are limited, however there are still options available. If you live in a mining town then you could contact the local office of the mining company to see if they have any vacancies for teenagers during the school holidays. That may be difficult though because generally speaking, the mines are run by large companies which have a strict recruitment process in place.
If you’re in a farming community it’s easier because most farms are owner operated and if you’re part of a close knit community then the chances are that the farm owner will give your son or daughter a go, even if only as a favour to you. Then after a while they’ll have proven themselves and that will help them with their next opportunity in the town or in another area if they choose to leave when they’ve completed their HSC.
Other common opportunities for teenagers or even adults in rural communities are retail, administration for a local farming business or fruit picking.
That’s how it used to be anyway. With advancements in technology it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. Look out for part B of our work opportunities in rural communities blog post, which will discuss options available for women in remote areas and why it’s important that women in remote areas work.
If you are running your own business out in the country we would love to know more about you and your business listed in this directory.
By Libby Shaw. Part 1, look out for part 2.
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