Two Guild Members are behind a ground-breaking initiative designed to research and better understand rural young people.
The Rural Youth Project coincides with the 2018 Year of Young People and will combine an online survey, year-long in-depth video logs of 15-20 rural youngsters and a Rural Youth Ideas Festival.
The initiative is a social enterprise venture and is the brainchild of former Guild Chairwoman Jane Craigie and Guild Member Rebecca Dawes (pictured above).
It will involve research in England, Scotland, Wales, Austria, Australia and the USA.
Managed by Jane Craigie Marketing, the Rural Youth Project has the support of partners interested and engaged in the rural youth ‘space’.
They are LANTRA Scotland, the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC), Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Rural Action, Scottish Rural Network and YouthLink Scotland.
Jane and Rebecca aim to identify and engage young rural leaders to help them drive positive change within their local rural communities.
They say they are inspired by their participation in leadership initiatives, including the Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme and the Windsor Leadership Programme.
“Rural young people are fundamental to the vibrancy, energy and economic outlook of rural places,” explains Jane.
“We wanted 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.”
Rebecca, with her background in the SAYFC, says there is a real lack of insight into this important group within our rural communities – hence the decision to run this project.
She said: “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.
“Evidence suggests that migration of young people away from rural areas hinges on education, employment opportunities, housing and public transport availability – some of the many research areas we are surveying.
“With so much emphasis on youth this year, we want to make sure that rural young people have a voice that will be heard, what better way is there to share their outlook?”
The project aims to research a wide range of rural young people including those working in education, farming, retail and hospitality, as well as those in full time education, or unemployed.
James Rose, of the Scottish Rural Network, said: “The future of rural Scotland is in the hands of its young people.
“In 2018, the Year of Young People, The Scottish Rural Network (SRN) is supporting the Rural Youth Project to gain a vital insight into what matters to young people in rural areas.”
Jane Craigie Marketing will use its wide-reaching networks within the international agricultural and rural leadership community and the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists to publicise the project and its outcomes.
The survey closes on 30 April 2018.
The incentive for completing the survey is a pair of tickets to the TRANSMT Festival in Glasgow on 8 July or a pair of tickets for ButeFest 2018.
The 2018 Project will culminate in a three-day Rural Youth Ideas Festival, run by Jane Craigie Marketing on 20-22 July in rural Scotland and an action plan developed by the Project partners.
The survey can be reached via the Project website www.ruralyouthproject.com.