The FINANCIAL -- More than 40,000 people from the United Kingdom went abroad on the Erasmus+ scheme during 2015-16, to study, train, volunteer or gain professional experience, according to new figures released today, an increase from 36,734 people in 2014.
According to the latest statistics and the European Commission’s Erasmus+ 2015 annual report, the UK is also the number one destination for education staff to train abroad, with 13,799 staff training in the UK, ahead of Spain with 12,630 and Italy with 10,226.
The UK is also the third most popular destination for students volunteering, studying or training abroad with 49,896 people, coming behind Spain (66,768) and Germany (53,706). Most participants from the UK went to Spain (5,885), followed by France (5,021) and Germany (3,074).
The report has been released to coincide with the launch of the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus+ European Exchange programme, which has enabled nearly 600,000 people from the UK to go abroad during the last 30 years. In 1987, fewer than 1,000 pioneering university students from the UK participated in the first year of the original Erasmus scheme.
UK enthusiasm for the programme remained high in 2016, with the UK National Agency allocating up to €130m compared to just over €120 million in 2015. The UK budget is expected to grow to more than € 200 million in 2020 in the final year of the current programme.
Ruth Sinclair-Jones, Erasmus+ UK National Agency Director said,
“In 2017 around €145 million is available to UK organisations to fund life-changing opportunities for thousands of young people and to form partnerships with organisations across Europe, to internationalise education, training and youth work, and address common issues such as youth unemployment and social integration. The 30th anniversary gives an opportunity to celebrate the continuing positive impact of Erasmus+ for the UK.”
An overwhelming number of young people want to see international exchange schemes such as Erasmus+ protected as the UK prepares to leave the European Union, a recent study by the British Council has found.
Amongst 2,000 UK adults surveyed about their attitudes towards language learning and international awareness in the light of the EU referendum, 74 per cent of 18-24 year olds said opportunities for young people to experience other languages and cultures must be maintained.
2017 funding deadlines for Erasmus+ start on 2 February.