With the debate on the differential impact of exclusionary processes on soical groups, young people have been one of the categories specifically targeted in recent years. Policy makers‘ attention has focused on young people mainly due to increasing labour market problems, growing unemployment and the lengthening of the transition period between leaving school and finding suitable employment. However, only relatively few research projects adopted a spatially differential analysis of the situation of young people by focusing on the specific problem faced by youth in rural areas.
The present volume reports on some of the findings of an EU research project, entitled „Policies and Young People in Rural Development (PAYPIRD)“, that specifically addressed how young people experience rural development and how policy measures might be re-focused to respond more adequately to the threat of social exclusion to which young people (aged 16-25 years) in rural areas are increasingly exposed.
The volume thus provides a survey of young people‘s problems and perspectives in rural areas in UK, Ireland, Finland, France, Portugal and Austria. Young people expressed – often with great candour - their views about rural lives, their school and training experiences, the difficulties they had encountered in finding suitable employment, the likelihood of their staying in the rural areas and discuss their difficulties in adapting their life situation to a rapidly changing local
and external environment.
Despite the similarities in the situations experienced by young people across the EU, the ‚rural facets‘ of transition processes are vivant. The diversity of regional contexts, the influence of different institutional arrangements and the impact of distinct regional identities all exert a strong influence over young people‘s assessment of their own future prospects and quality of life in their regions of origin.