Supporting At Risk Young People

The Personal Youth Development Programme (PYDP) aims to help at risk young people build and develop life skills that foster good relations, build confidence and resilience and make them more employable.

The Programme is part of the International Fund for Ireland Connecting Communities Strategy. Rural Action is the Managing Agent for PYDP in Northern Ireland.


PYDP seeks to connect young people aged 16-25 to personalised learning, skills and employment opportunities with a central focus on good relations and preparing people for the world of work. It is interested in engaging potential participants that are vulnerable to polarisation/recruitment to organisations opposed to the peace process and face barriers to participation in mainstream provision.

PYDP encourages participants to explore their needs and make decisions that improve their lives, communities and interactions with others. The programme engages with young people who face a range of issues including; leaving the education system early; substance abuse; affected by homelessness; difficult family backgrounds; been in or close to criminal justice system; suffer from poor health or mental health issues; mistrust of statutory institutions; not participated in civic society in a positive manner; and come from communities with a negative view of their future.

PYDP projects are designed at a local level, engaging with the referral systems to provide accredited and non-accredited opportunities in Good Relations, Personal Development, Employability/Education Skills Development and Community/Social Development.

PYDP is designed to provide support for young people to progress through programme levels to enable them to return to education, access mainstream training courses or enter employment.


PYDP is designed to offer young people the opportunity to join a long term programme that provides support to progress through various stages until they are ready to return to education, access statutory training courses or enter employment. The current PYDP projects implementing in Northern Ireland offer a range of activities in line with the core themes of Personal Development, Education, Employability and Good Relations. Examples of activities include personal development workshops, mentoring support, health and wellbeing, accredited courses, vocational training, work tasters, industry visits, employer talks, CV development and interview skills.