Erasmus+ combines seven former educational, training and youth programmes. This includes The Lifelong Learning Programme and the Youth in Action programme. The aim is to open up the opportunities presented by the original Erasmus programme to a broader group of people. This still includes if you are studying at university but it is also aimed at those in adult education and vocational education, as well as school students.
The idea of the scheme is to offer you educational opportunities, vocational apprenticeships, traineeships and volunteer opportunities that encourage you to be mobile and use your skills and education in another country.
And here is the best bit – there is more money available now than there has ever been. That means there are more opportunities and an increased chance that you will be accepted onto a scheme. This is because the EU wants to encourage people like you to broaden your horizons outside of the city where you currently live. Plus there are other changes that are designed to achieve the same objectives as the study grants, including a new guarantee for student loans that is available if you are on masters’ programmes.
One of the key drivers for the introduction of the Erasmus+ programme is the Europe 2020 strategy. That sounds boring but it basically means they have looked at the jobs they think they will need young people doing over the next few years. If they can get people like you into the right jobs, the economy of the EU and its member states has a better chance of improving .
In terms of education there are targets:
In summary they want to modernise education, as well as vocational training and youth work. It aims to improve the problem of youth unemployment, bridge the skills gap that exists in certain sectors, and enable the EU to compete on an international level. This is one of the reasons why the programme has been extended to vocational students as well as to those in higher education.
A new element has also been introduced that did not exist in any of the previous programmes that Erasmus+ has taken over. This is the sport dimension which has added 600 collaborative partnerships, 3,000 partner organisations, and an annual EU Sport Forum to the programme.
Erasmus+ has three main types of key action:
For the EU, this is important because they want a working population who is multi-lingual, highly skilled and mobile. For you it means you get to experience living in a different country to learn about their culture and language, as well as improving the core skills and knowledge that is part of your studies or course.
Now for the important part – what can you get? The opportunities that are available for you include the option to study abroad for up to one year. It also includes the opportunity to get work experience at a business or organisation based in Europe. If you are a vocational student, you can go on a foreign traineeship, or spend time at a school in another European country. Plus there is the youth exchange and volunteering elements of the scheme.