The Rural Youth Project coincides with the 2018 Year of Young People and will combine an online survey, a series of year-long in-depth videos and a Rural Youth Ideas Festival.
Target countries for the research include England, Scotland and Wales – as well as Austria, Australia and the USA.
The initiative – launched to coincide with the Year of Young People – is a social enterprise venture from Jane Craigie and Rebecca Dawes (pictured above).
Inspired by their participation in leadership initiatives, the two communications experts aim to identify and engage youngsters to help them drive change within local rural communities.
“Rural young people are fundamental to the vibrancy, energy and economic outlook of rural places,” explains Ms Craigie.
“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.”
Ms Dawes, who has a background with the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs, said there was a real lack of insight into rural youngsters, hence the decision to run the project.
She said: “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.
"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 will be repeated annually.
It aims to research a range of rural young people including those in education, farming, retail and hospitality, as well as those who are unemployed.
The initiative will be undertaken by Jane Craigie Marketing and supported by a number of partners, including the Scottish Rural Network.
It 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.
Rural youngsters are encouraged to complete a survey on the project website at www.ruralyouthproject.com which will run until 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.
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