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.
The ARDENT Journey & Impact
Our target groups
Adult education organisations
Adult education organisations will benefit through the possibility to improve their educational offerings to adult learners, by aligning those with the needs of the market and the population and utilising the open-access teaching resources, created within the project’s lifetime.
Rural public authorities
The project will raise the awareness of the local and regional rural authorities on the rural community needs, and relevance of rural-urban collaboration for the development of business activities, and quality social service provisions.
Rural businesses will see the impact through the increase in their activities, due to expansion of their network with urban counterparts, better visibility, recruitment of high-quality graduates, and the entrepreneurial mindset they developed during the project.
Adult learners & Rural residents
The project will foster the development of an entrepreneurial mindset of the adult learners, while rural residents will grow to be more connected with their local communities, being part of the Rural Councils. The student projects will contribute to the rural citizens’ quality of life through improving educational, health, or recreational services.
HEI lecturers & HEIs
The HEI staff benefit through gaining skills and knowledge on entrepreneurial teaching, business models, and hands-on social and business development projects. The project will add value to the civic engagement role of the HEIs by establishing links to their rural communities and increasing relevance of their educational provision.
Community – Based Learning. Through a wide variety of teaching methods following the methodology of CBL the project will aim to foster meaningful community service responding to real-life needs, elevate the importance of glocal citizenship and instil adult learners with civic responsibility.
Science-to-Society Focus. The project brings together HEIs, adult learners, rural businesses communities, public authorities, and citizens around the table to investigate problems, generate solutions, and implement findings together.
Design Thinking. ARDENT takes a human-centred management process basing its methodology on the following design thinking principles: Attention to User Needs (“Urban-Rural Community Building Stage”; Observation (“The Rural Consultation Event”; Visualisation and prototyping (“Rural Entrepreneurship Adult Teaching & Training Programme”); Testing (“Community-based learning projects”)