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Posted in Rural Blog
06/03/2018
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How much do we really know about rural youth?

Businesses often list “the next generation” or “youth” as a priority within their plans but how much do we really know about this audience, and how many businesses spend the time to find out what their real challenges and aspirations are?

The research to date amongst rural young people, both nationally and internationally, has been fragmented, but what we do know is that rural areas have a lower percentage of 16–34 -year-olds and evidence suggests that migration of young people away from rural areas hinges on education, employment opportunities, housing and public transport availability. These areas, among others, are critical for the social and economic future of a local community.

Inspired by our participation in leadership initiatives, including the Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme and the Windsor Leadership Programme, my colleague Jane Craigie and I have launched The Rural Youth Project to fulfil this research gap, and give rural youth a voice both here in Scotland and internationally.

The research, which will be carried out in England, Scotland, Wales, Austria, Australia, Canada, Sweden and the USA during 2018, and has been designed to research and better understand rural youth between the ages of 18–28.

It will combine an online survey, year-long in-depth video logs (vlogs) of 20–25 rural young people and a Rural Youth Ideas Festival hosted on a farm in Kinross, Scotland in July 2018.

We firmly believe rural young people are fundamental to the vibrancy, energy and economic outlook of rural places. We want to better understand what young people perceive their challenges and opportunities to be, as well as gaining a better understanding of their degree of optimism for the future.

The project, which will be repeated in 2019–22, will aim to identify and engage young rural leaders to help them drive positive change within their local rural communities. And what better time to launch it, than in Scotland’s Year of Young People – together we can make sure rural youth have a voice.

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The survey will close on 30 April 2018 and for those living in England, Scotland or Wales the incentive for completing the survey is a pair of tickets to the TRANSMT Festival 2018 or ButeFest 2018. For those in Australia, Austria, Canada, Sweden or the USA there is a $50 voucher for Amazon.

The survey can be reached via the Project website www.ruralyouthproject.com or if you would like to get involved you can contact Rebecca or Jane via hello@ruralyouthproject.com.

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Rebecca Dawes works for Jane Craigie Marketing and is formerly Communications and Rural Affairs Manager for the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs. She is a judge for the Lantra Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards, a Director for Scottish Rural Action and Scottish Coordinator for LEAF’s Open Farm Sunday. As a passionate millennial and farmer’s daughter who has lived in a rural location all her life, she firmly believes there should be more support for rural youth and through this project, initiated and managed by Jane Craigie Marketing, there is an opportunity to influence policy and key decision makers.

The project partners including Lantra Scotland, Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Rural Action, Scottish Rural Network and YouthLink Scotland.








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