With an opening Soprano performance, inspiring case studies and an insightful panel discussion, there was a real buzz around this year’s Annual Conference in Central Hall Westminster where we were joined by more than 200 delegates to celebrate the achievements of the programme to date.
A wonderful performance from Holly Teague, accompanied on the piano by Jonathan French, opened the event. Holly is currently undertaking an Erasmus+ mobility placement in France, at the Conservatoire de Paris, as part of her studies with the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. The performance was a great way to display the talent and commitment of the people involved in the programme.
Erasmus+ in numbers
This year has been a record year in terms of Erasmus+ funding. During the programme update, the National Agency Director Jane Racz explained that there has been “more funding allocated to UK-based organisations this year than in any previous year of the programme”. Describing the programme as going “from strength to strength”, Jane mentioned recent programme developments, including the launch of the European Solidarity Corps in the UK earlier this year.
Individual and organisational impact
It wouldn’t be an Erasmus+ Annual Conference without some inspiring case studies, and this year was no different!
Former project participants, Fred Brant and Coral Allen-Henderson, described the impact the programme had on them during their Erasmus+ work placements in Spain. They undertook the placements while studying for their Electrotechnical Qualifications at Leicester College, an organisation that has been involved with Erasmus+ over the years.
It was great to hear them touch on their experiences of promoting Erasmus+ to others as newly appointed UK EuroApprentices. The EuroApprentices scheme targets those involved in the VET sector who do not yet participate in Erasmus+ and increases their knowledge of the programme and their understanding of how learning abroad can progress them both professionally and personally.
Speaker Mary Russell – Volunteer and Project Coordinator at the Royal National College for the Blind – talked about the organisational impact of the programme and delegates heard first-hand the opportunities RNC has had because of Erasmus+ funding.
A chance to hear from you!
With roundtable discussions in the morning and a Q&A panel discussion in the afternoon, most of the day was dedicated to hearing directly from our Erasmus+ People. Delegates were given the chance to talk about their personal experiences of the programme, sharing how long they’d been involved with Erasmus+ and what they believe are the top three benefits of the programme.
The panel discussion, with representatives from across the five sectors, meant attendees were able to ask those burning questions, with highlights including: “How do we accommodate for participants with additional needs?” “What is your standout Erasmus+ moment?” and “How can we motivate the least motivated young people to participate?”.
Panel member Alison Walton-Robson from Headway Arts, a centre aiming to support social inclusion and participation in art in Blyth, spoke about how the Erasmus+ had helped the organisation “raise aspirations and inspire people”. Nadia Musah, volunteer and Europeer, was a source of inspiration when speaking about the duty of youth organisations towards young people:
“We have a responsibility for our youth. It’s up to us to reach these young people.”
Getting to know other initiatives
The Community Hub returned for another year at the conference, with exhibitors including a range of linked networks including EPALE, eTwinning and ECVET as well as Europeers and Creative Europe. It continues to be one of the most popular parts of the event.
Why not watch our Facebook Live from the morning of the conference to find out more about the Hub? We gave viewers a sneak-peek at what they could expect and interviewed staff from Eurodesk UK and Transnational Cooperation Activities.
The conference was covered well on social media by everyone using #ErasmusPlusEffect. The Erasmus+ team loved seeing people’s messages throughout the day – take a look at our Twitter Moment from the event, where we’ve compiled some of our favourites:
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