ARDENT: Rural Development through Entrepreneurship Education for Adults
Among others, Europe faces two major demographic challenges: rapid depopulation in rural areas and ageing. Rural areas currently account for 28% of the population in Europe. By 2050, the population of rural regions is projected to fall by 7.9 million, with urban regions hosting nearly half of the EU-28 population (Eurostat, 2016).
The shrinkage causes living conditions to deteriorate in rural regions, loss of skilled labour, resources becoming underutilised, etc. (Espon, 2017). Further pressing challenges include risk of poverty and social exclusion, poor infrastructure and unemployment rates. (EC, 2018). At the same time, the high number of adults with poor basic skills is a major challenge for society. Too few adults have access to adult learning. The EU is far from attaining its benchmark of 15% adult participation in learning by 2020.
To address these challenges, The Erasmus+ funded project ARDENT (Advancing Rural Development through Entrepreneurship Education for Adults) targets adult learners in the rural communities (aged 25 and over) of various professional backgrounds possessing formal education but currently unemployed. It aims at improving the lifelong learning opportunities for those in rural areas to inspire their transition from job seekers to job creators. Through a Community-Based Learning (CBL) approach to entrepreneurial skills development and establishment of Rural Councils, ARDENT actively engages various stakeholders in co-creation of better future and boosting the development in their rural area.