- Wales has been awarded €4.1 million for projects through Erasmus+ - the EU’s new programme for education, training, youth and sport.
- This is the first year of the programme, managed by the UK National Agency, a partnership between the British Council and Ecorys UK, with a major part of the organisation located in Cardiff at British Council Wales.
In the first rounds of Erasmus+ funding Wales has been awarded €4.1m (just over £3m). Of the funding €3.2m will go to help Welsh youngsters study, train or volunteer abroad and €900K will help the country’s schools, colleges and universities work with their European partners to share best practice.
This is the first year of the new Erasmus+ European Union programme in the UK, aimed at organisations from the education, training, youth and sport sectors, with €97.6 million awarded to 818 successful projects in the UK so far.
Welsh higher education organisations were particularly successful in securing funding for sending students to study or train abroad and staff to job shadow and train with their counterparts, as well as forging partnerships with others in the education and training, sport and youth fields across the 28 plus European Union countries and beyond, winning more than €2.5m.
In Wales €0.7m has been awarded for vocational education and training projects; €0.6m for schools; €0.01m for adult education and €0.2m for youth, with the youth funding allocated across ten different projects.
In total 71 applications were received from organisations based in Wales during the first two rounds of the 2014 call for applications.
Jenny Scott, director at British Council Wales said: “We’re pleased to see Erasmus+ funding coming to Wales and congratulate all the Welsh organisations who have been successful in their bids for funding. Erasmus+ opens doors to new opportunities for young people across Wales – opportunities that will enhance their career opportunities and develop their ability to work in today’s global economy. The programme also helps our schools, colleges and universities develop partnerships in Europe and share best practice.
“Another round of funding for the youth and vocational education sectors recently closed, which should mean more funding for Wales. The application process for the 2015 funding rounds will soon open and we’d like to see even more bids from Wales. There is still plenty of time to apply before the 2015 deadlines. Interested organisations can keep up to date with the latest application advice and deadlines through the Erasmus+ website.”
Cardiff University has long supported the Erasmus programme and is continuing to offer its staff and students the opportunities to gain an international experience through the new Erasmus+ programme.
The university has regularly sent around 300 students abroad every year through Erasmus to take part in work experience or to study at one of its partner institutions across Europe.
Annika Axelsen, Institutional Erasmus+ Co-ordinator at Cardiff University, explains why they continue to participate in Erasmus+: “We believe that studying or working abroad enables our students to gain skills over and above those that they can gain through just studying in the UK. Our university supported the predecessor programme for many years and will continue to do so as we believe offering our students and staff an international opportunity is paramount to their education and careers, broadening their horizons and improving employability. Students return with greater confidence, maturity and life-skills. Staff return enthused and pass on their inspiration to our students.”
A full list of the successful projects will be published in due course.
Erasmus+ replaced the former Lifelong Learning Programme and Youth in Action programme when it was launched across the EU earlier this year. In the UK around £840 million is being made available over seven years up until 2020.
The UK National Agency for Erasmus+ is a partnership between the British Council and Ecorys UK.
Ruth Sinclair-Jones, Director of the Erasmus+ UK National Agency, said of the awards: “We have made huge strides this year in setting up a new team, across a formal partnership between the British Council and Ecorys as the National Agency in the UK, establishing new joint processes, working with a new European Commission IT system and overcoming delays, communicating the benefits and encouraging applications by explaining this large and often complex programme to the organisations, young people, students and staff.”
The majority of the British Council staff managing and delivering the Erasmus+ programme in the UK are now based in the Cardiff office.