Supporting Young People with ADHD Into Rural Work
By Ian Robertson, Executive Director of Countryside Learning Scotland
Our award-winning ADHD RURAL CONNECT project is the first rural education programme for young people with ADHD. We provide them with “hands on” opportunities to learn new practical skills and qualifications, develop opportunities and employability skills while progressing understanding of their soft skills. It is the first of its kind, offering specialist educational support, to young people with ADHD, helping them into rural work across Scotland and is focused to ensure these young people can reach their full potential, by nurturing their skills for employability and life.
Thirty-nine per cent of children with ADHD are (at times) excluded from education, so there is a considerable responsibility for us to utilise our 20+ years of experience and expertise when implementing ADHD Rural Connect. With our partners Perth and Kinross ADHD Support Group and NFU Mutual, we are recognising the potential of these young people and the role they could play in tackling the lack of young people embarking on rural careers.
These young people can face many challenges such as poor educational experience; weak interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence; friendship difficulties; not life prepared; lacking in confidence; and impulsivity – meaning poor decision making. ADHD Rural Connect is designed to support these specific challenges through the expertise of the Occupational Therapist and the specialist support to the young people, and the parents, provided by the Perth and Kinross ADHD Support Group. We are combining this nurturing programme with outdoor based practical skills; it is this combination of the two which is unique.
ADHD Rural Connect recently won the Scottish Land and Estates ‘Helping it Happen’ ‘Working with Communities Award’. This recognition gives us the confidence and impetus to keep striving, to take the project to further secondary schools, to support and develop more neurodiverse young people to help them reach their fullest potential whilst delivering a raft of motivated young people as future employees to the rural industries – this can only be seen as a Win-Win situation.
We are known as the charity that provides education opportunities to ‘all across all outdoor industries’ …well now we are practicing what we preach.
Article posted on 17/08/2022