Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill has urged young people in rural areas to grasp the opportunity to improve their career prospects by participating in the ‘RYE Connect’ Programme.

Opportunities under RYE Connect
Minister with Níamh & Cáitlin at RYE Connect launch

The ‘RYE Connect’ Programme is an innovative approach aimed at igniting ideas and encouraging enterprise development among young people in rural areas. Minister O’Neill has allocated match funding over three years for the initiative under DARD’s Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Programme.

Delivered in Northern Ireland by the Rural Development Council (RDC) and Advantage it has an international dimension bringing together organisations from Finland and Greenland under the EU Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme (NPA) 2014-2020.

Minister O’Neill is encouraging young people in rural areas to participate in the Programme, and said:

I am delighted to be supporting this initiative with £193,698 in match funding, over a three year period, under my Department’s Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Programme. RYE Connect will provide up to 400 young people aged 18-30 living in rural areas with the support to help turn a business idea into reality.

“Engaging young people in rural enterprise has the potential to make rural life more attractive by providing employment and income, thereby addressing rural poverty and isolation. It will also enable young people to remain in rural areas with their families and contribute to the sustainability of their community and the local economy.

For further details please contact Gillian Maxwell at or telephone 028 8676 6980.

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