The COVID19 crisis has had a major impact on the lives of young people. The increase in unemployment rates from 2020 is more significant for young people than for other age groups. The pandemic has also opened up several challenges, such as new forms of work based on digital tools, generating an increasing demand for new set of skills and competences. This new scenario represents a major challenge in increasingly depopulated and ageing rural areas, where young people are at disadvantage in terms of vocational training, digital skills and employment opportunities.
RuralYouthFuture aims to improve the effectiveness of youth employment policies for sustainable rural development. Six policy instruments will be addressed, at municipal, regional and national level to face a common challenge: responding to the needs of young people in small European municipalities, reducing inequalities with their urban peers and countering ageing and growing depopulation. Different approaches will be shared through interregional experience exchange activities to develop common solutions. The partnership, integrated by public authorities, public bodies and non-profit organizations from 7 countries (Spain, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Latvia, Portugal, Estonia and Belgium) represents a wide range of realities. They will search for adequate and sustainable solutions to reduce the youth unemployment rate and promote the access to emerging opportunities, in particular digital skills and new forms of work resulting from the pandemic. This will be a key element in stimulating rural development, as well as in retaining and attracting young and skilled labour force to rural areas. The planned knowledge and experience sharing activities will also enhance the capacities of policy teams linked to rural youth employment programmes and initiatives to keep young people in their areas, avoiding inequality and brain drain, with more job opportunities and better working conditions.
RuralYouthFuture project is funded by Interreg Europe 2021-2027 and has a duration of 4 years, starting in March 2023.