Today saw the official launch of Erasmus+ in the UK by the European Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou. The event, which was hosted by the British Council and Ecorys, was also attended by the UK Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise Matthew Hancock and Sir Vernon Ellis, Chair of the British Council.
It was announced that almost €1 billion will be available over the next seven years to help people in the UK gain crucial international skills under the new Erasmus+ programme, managed in the UK by the British Council and Ecorys.
Hundreds of thousands of young people in the UK will be able to access the new programme over the next seven years in order to study, train, gain work experience and volunteer across the EU and further afield.
More than 30,000 young people per year – the equivalent of over 70 fully-laden jumbo jets – are expected to gain opportunities to expand their horizons under the programme. This represents a 50 per cent increase on the number of UK young people receiving grants compared with the EU’s previous Lifelong Learning and Youth in Action programmes, which Erasmus+ will replace.
The programme will also support organisations from across the fields of education, training, youth and sport to develop partnerships, share best practice and work collaboratively to help boost growth and create jobs.
Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism, Sport, Media and Youth said:
"Erasmus+ is a prime example of the major benefits that EU membership brings for Britain - and especially for the young generation in search of extra skills that can give them an edge in today's tough job market. Investing in education and training is the best choice we can make for Europe's future and our young people. The international experience gained through Erasmus+ boosts skills and employability."
Sir Vernon Ellis, Chair of the British Council, said:
“Employers tell us that to compete internationally they need more people with intercultural skills and experience abroad. The British Council’s recently published Broadening Horizons research shows that over one third of UK students are now looking to study abroad. The Erasmus+ programme will address both these needs and in so doing help secure the UK’s competitiveness in the coming years.”
Chris Walker, Director at Ecorys UK, said:
“Through Erasmus+ people in the UK will be able to take part in activities that will be of real benefit to their future. The projects and placements that will be funded will enable people of all ages to improve their employability, increase their skills and gain confidence in their own abilities. Organisations will be able to participate in exciting projects to improve provision here in the UK, through learning from other countries and of course sharing our successes.”