Rural youth entrepreneurs

The Southern Trust and Social Care Trust (SHSCT) ASD/CAMHS CONNECT Service for young people with a confirmed diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and coexisting conditions aged 13-18 years, recently invited a number of young people to a series of workshops to hear first-hand how they could turn their hobbies, areas of interest and passions into small businesses. 

Rural youth entrepreneurs

A group of RYE participants

The Rural Youth Entrepreneurship (RYE) programme is designed to encourage young people of all abilities to think about self-employment and entrepreneurship as an alternative option to employment. Funded by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) under the Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation programme, RYE is delivered by RDC in partnership with Advantage.  It is designed as an awareness raising and developmental programme for rural young people between the ages of 16 and 30.

As part of the programme participants enjoyed focused workshops which allowed them to explore and challenge their individual thinking to generate ideas to develop small business plans.   These workshops encouraged developing skills of problem solving, team and individual skills, communication and interpersonal which in turn stimulated creativity.

 Lisa Polland-O’Hare, ASD Well-being Practitionersaid:

“The programme has been a valuable learning experience for us all.  Young people with ASD have difficulty with social interaction, communication and thinking of opportunities for personal development that improves employment prospects which are essential. The workshops used the young people’s specific areas of interest to develop ideas to create business plans. This process allowed the young people to work collaboratively, thinking about their futures and potential self-employment. For one young person it was his first opportunity to consider his skills and explore career options. It would be great if additional opportunities were available in the young people’s local communities so that they could develop their new skills”  

Participant; “I really enjoyed the sessions they allowed me to create a plan that I can use for my future. The staff were very helpful and knew what they were talking about. We need more support for people who suffer from ASD to secure employment”.

Olga Gallagher, Director RDC said:

It was a privilege for RYE to be involved with the ASD Unit and to have the opportunity to inspire so many enthusiastic young people.   We were delighted that Lisa recognized the benefits of the RYE workshops and how the programme could assist the young people and we wish them well in the future.”

For more information please contact Anne Marie on or Gail on or alternatively ring 028 86766980.