Is the Mountains a place for young people?
We've all heard the story: there isn't much for young people in the Blue Mountains to do after high school.
But is it true?
Western Sydney Uni PhD student, Katoomba-based Francesca Sidoti is trying to find out. She is calling out to young people to tell her their views.
Two years ago, Ms Sidoti investigated why some young people choose to leave Katoomba while others stay.
This study extends that research.
"It's about whether or not young people can see a future for themselves in the Blue Mountains," she said. "Is this a place they can see themselves calling home in two years', in five years' time?"
The statistics show many Mountains young people move away after high school, and that getting a local job or training can be difficult.
Research for the Blue Mountains council in 2016 found that, when asked if they felt like they belonged in the community, those aged between 16 and 34 agreed less strongly than any other age group.
"We want to know what's going on behind those numbers," said Ms Sidoti. "What's it actually like being a young person up here? Does social media make a difference? And - most importantly of all - what would it take to make the Blue Mountains more attractive for young people?"
The project is an initiative of the Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise, funded by the Building Better Regions fund.
Bernard Fehon, CEO at BMEE, said: "We want to hear from young people because we really want to know whether they feel the Blue Mountains is a place for them."
All Blue Mountains young people aged between 16-24 are invited to have their say.
"At the end of the day, we all have ideas about what would improve the Blue Mountains for young people," said Ms Sidoti. "But if it's not led by the input of young people themselves, then it probably won't work".
How to get involved: Take the survey at www.bmee.org.au/post-school-pathways/. Follow the project on Facebook or Instagram: @mtnspathways. Or contact the researcher on F.Sidoti@westernsydney.edu.au.