A new £1 million programme offering rural skills training and job opportunities to young people in Fife has been announced.
The cash is part of a £33 million investment by the Big Lottery Fund in more than 30 environmental organisations and comes three months after the Paris climate change agreement.
The aim is to inspire and develop the next generation of environmental leaders.
The programme, called ‘Our Bright Future’, aims to tackle three big challenges facing society today - a lack of social cohesion, a lack of opportunities for young people and vulnerability to climate change.
A total of 31 youth-led projects across the UK are each receiving around £1million of funding to give young people the skills and knowledge to improve their local environments – from reducing marine pollution to minimising food waste.
In doing so, young people will develop the confidence and resilience to become environmental leaders and influence decisions at local and national levels.
Dr Peter Burman, MBE, chairman of Falkland Stewardship Trust, which is lead partner within the Fife Rural Skills Partnership, welcomed the development.
He said: “We are delighted that Fife has been selected as one of the projects for Our Bright Future.
“This funding will help strengthen the Fife Rural Skills Partnership’s commitment to increase the number of skilled young people who are able to care, manage and make sustainable use of Fife’s rural landscape.”
A five-year programme , the initiative has two main objectives - to enable young people aged 15 to24 in Fife to gain new skills relevant to finding jobs, training or starting entrepreneurial projects that contribute to the green economy, and to make a positive impact on the local environment across Fife through the training and work experience activities the young people undertake.
The Fife Rural Skills Partnership aims to offer young people a variety of development opportunities from work experience and introductory academies to modern apprenticeships and social enterprise support.
These activities will be designed to help prepare young people for the working world and provide practical support to them as they begin their careers in the rural sector where there is an identified generational gap.
Our Bright Future is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and run by a consortium of eight organisations which is led by The Wildlife Trusts. The partnership has more than 40 years of combined experience in managing social and environmental grant programmes totalling nearly £300 million, and has a proven track record of working with and empowering young people in communities of all social circumstances.
Stephanie Hilborne OBE, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts said: “Our Bright Future is an innovative movement for change. It is brilliant that the Big Lottery Fund has recognised that societal and environmental challenges are two sides of the same coin. The programme supports young people to develop skills and it does so through the environment. We want to see a generation of courageous and wise leaders empowered to change our world for the better.”