New figures revealed at the Erasmus+ Annual Conference show 53 applicants in Wales have been awarded €8.4m in Erasmus+ funding in 2016 so far, compared to €5.1m to 36 successful applicants in 2014.
An increase in the number and value of successful schools applications is the main reason for the funding boost. From 2014 to 2016 a total of €20.4 million has been awarded to 134 projects led by organisations based in Wales. This funding has supported almost 4,700 individual placements for learners, staff or young people of Wales to study, volunteer or train abroad between 2014 and 2015, with more projects starting this year and more people taking part from 2016-17.
In 2014 the €5.1m funding was to cover almost 2,100 opportunities for students, young people and education, training and youth staff of Wales to study, volunteer or work abroad, through projects in the first two years of Erasmus+, the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport. In 2015, more than €6.8m of funding was to cover almost 2,600 opportunities, with a big increase in the number of opportunities for Wales’ further education students to study a vocational course abroad, with 430 opportunities in 2015 compared to 80 in 2014. The British Council is the UK National Agency for Erasmus+ in partnership with Ecorys UK and is holding its 2016 Erasmus+ annual conference in Cardiff City Hall on 23 November.
The latest figures will be announced at the annual conference in Cardiff City Hall today in the company of Welsh Government Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James AM and panellist compere and BBC broadcaster Jason Mohammad.
Welcoming the news, Julie James said, “Ensuring Wales has the right skill-sets and experiences to compete internationally is a key priority for this government, and the Erasmus+ programme fully supports our aims for raising standards of education and training provision. I am encouraged by these new figures because it is important we fully maximise the opportunities this programme presents to benefit students, practitioners and young people in Wales.”
The figures show that more organisations in Wales in the adult education and schools sectors have been successful in applying in 2016, with 22 successful schools applications topping €2.8m, compared to €625,000 in 2014 for six successful applications.
Many of those successful applicants will be attending the annual conference, including Cardiff Council, which applied successfully for around €1.7m in funding for eight projects involving consortia of schools across Wales.
Emily Daly, international school linking officer at Cardiff Council said, “We have been able to draw on the support of the British Council to link with more schools around Wales and involve them in successful bids for Erasmus+, resulting in projects which help them to share best practice, internationalise their school, and fulfil the Welsh Government’s education policies. The growing interest in Wales is good to see, and we’re looking forward to starting projects on a range of topics, such as challenging extremism, raising achievement and additional learning needs.”
Ten other schools in Wales share more than €1m for strategic partnership projects, including Cadoxton Primary in Barry, Malpas Church in Wales Junior School in Newport, Ysgol Gymraeg Ffwrnes in Carmarthenshire and Ysgol Llwyn yr Eos in Aberystwyth.
Ruth Sinclair-Jones, Erasmus+ UK National Agency director commented, “We are delighted with the increased number of successful applications from Wales in 2016, and we’d like to encourage more and bigger applications across Wales and the UK for 2017, to take advantage of the higher levels of funding available in the 30th anniversary of the programme. 2017 is the first year following the EU referendum result and we’d like to emphasise that successful applicants in 2017 will be awarded funding for the duration of their project.”