The rurality.com project will widen the participation of under-skilled or unemployed young people in rural areas by assisting them to access career-enhancing training and employment opportunities offered by partner organizations.
About the Project
Somerset Rural Youth Project has piloted a number of projects and programmes using ICT with young people in rural areas. Young people have also been engaged in the design and maintenance of the SRYP website. Following these pilot projects SRYP received funding from the Somerset Rural Renaissance Programme to develop the organization’s Information & Advice capacity by using existing resources and new technologies.
Rurality.com project provides Information & Advice for young people living in the rural parishes of Somerset. It will encourage and support them in finding and keeping employment, education and training opportunities in partnership with the REAL project (Rural Employment And Learning). It will stimulate economic activity and support young people in their personal and social development.
How it works
The rurality.com project is a brokerage scheme that develops new and innovative ways for rural young people to gain access to the information, advice and support they need, for example:
All young people living in rural areas with access to the Internet can use the website as a gateway to sources of information.
- Further advice and support is provided by the REAL team having accessed basic information through the website
- The website is designed and maintained by young people in rural Somerset so the information is relevant
- Young people are able to access information and advice by using the organisation’s ICT resources in small locality groups
- Resources include laptop computers, with Internet access, digital audio visual equipment and converted minibus
- The project has piloted the development of a mobile phone texting service
The collaborative work of rurality.com and REAL teams has been extremely effective, using mobile internet and other IT to search the internet and print out CV’s whilst increasing skills and confidence. Having the information and links on our website has been useful to young people generally but making contact and providing support where young people need it has been life changing.
One young man said, “I think it has given me a good chance to access employment opportunities with the computers and wireless internet. It’s really cool because I can’t get that sort of thing out here and I haven’t got it myself.”
Converting an existing fleet minibus into a flexible environment for young people to use IT and paper resources and information has proved to be a productive development for flexible delivery to young people and an inspiration to other projects to make better use of mobile provisions.>
The project has been a catalyst for the development of other websites managed by young people through the use of free technologies and skills learnt through the project.
Somerset Rural Youth Project is committed to young people’s involvement in the development of the organisation. Rurality.com has been, and will continue to be, developed by young people.
The project will continue to increase opportunities for young people to directly influence decisions made by Somerset Rural Youth Project.
A full evaluation of the project was undertaken by external consultants during early 2008.