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RDP project database

Connecting with Disadvantaged Young People in the Orkney islands


Connect is an innovative, person centred programme where local agencies cooperate to deliver services to disadvantaged young people who face severe barriers to employment. It offers advice, personal and skills development and pathways to employment.


The project responded to the needs of young people who experience severe barriers to employment due to lack of organisational skills, homelessness, substance abuse, etc. and who need support and training before attending employment services offered within Orkney. These young people have opted out of the education system but are ineligible for job seekers allowance and due to their erratic life patterns lack the ability to find or maintain employment and are uncertain of what steps to take next.


The Connect project aims to foster social inclusion. The objective of the project is to provide support and training for disadvantaged unemployed young people, aged 16 to 19 - to the point where they can enter more formal programmes aimed at assisting them enter employment.

Main activities

The project was implemented by Voluntary Action Orkney. It focused on providing one-to-one, tailored personal and skills development within a dedicated environment to ensure that the young people involved gained the confidence, skills and commitment to enable them to successfully move on to the more formal programmes/opportunities offered by partner agencies. Connect worked with referrals from several jobcentres, skills development and social service local organisations.

Results & Benefits

Connect has exceeded its targets in terms of numbers of young people assisted and personal goals set for each one of them. Young people have gained in confidence, skills and developed their potential. Successful examples include young people with no formal qualification, low confidence and no goals for their future who managed to obtain employment after a work placement.

Lessons learnt

The lessons drawn from the project process include: 1) Patience. This is vital during project implementation as it takes time before results become evident. 2) Work with partner agencies, utilise all the services that are already out there - working together strengthens the project. 3) Be practical. Time keeping is a particular challenge when working with some young people. A motivating phone call in the moring can get someone out of bed!

Project location and other information

Kirkwall, Orkney islands.



RDP Territory


Total project cost (€)

115 800

EAFRD contribution (€)

22 002

National contribution (€)

88 008

Private contribution (€)

5 790

Contact name

Gail Anderson


+44 1856 872897

Languages for contact


At a glance


United Kingdom

Final beneficiary type


Budget range

€100 000 - €500 000

Start date:


End Date:


Theme / Measure:

• Implementing the LEADER Approach
• Implementing local development strategies
• 413. Quality of life/diversification


Skills acquisition, Social inclusion, Disadvantaged people, Employment, Young people

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