Initially conceived as a mobility scheme for university students, Erasmus+ has now expanded into traineeships, apprenticeships, youth exchanges, volunteering and staff exchanges in all fields of education, training and sport. One in three students who do traineeships abroad through the programme is offered a position by their host company. In the last ten years the UK has seen a trend of gradual increase in traineeships and they now account for about a third of Erasmus+ support.
Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, and former Erasmus student at the University of Leicester (UK) said: “Education is vital in equipping people with the knowledge, competences, skills and ability to make the most of their potential and of the opportunities open to them. Mobility broadens our horizons and strengthens us further. Erasmus can offer both. As a former Erasmus student, I have experienced this first hand. I encourage other students and in particular teachers, trainers, youth workers and vocational education and training students to also make use of the opportunities open to them under Erasmus+".
Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: "Erasmus has been opening up opportunities to young people for three decades now, enabling them to develop vital skills, including social and intercultural skills, and promoting active citizenship. By connecting people and supporting them in working together, the programme plays a key role in empowering our youth to build a better society. This is the solidarity Europe needs, now more than ever. I want to ensure that Erasmus+ can support even more people from a wider range of backgrounds in the future".
Over the past 30 years, the programme has given 9 million people the chance to study, train, volunteer or gain professional experience abroad. Erasmus+ has stronger links with the labour market than its predecessor programmes, enabling students to spend traineeship periods in companies or organisations abroad and through non-formal learning experiences preparing young people for the job market and for participation in civic life. Mobile students are twice as likely to have found a job one year after graduation compared to their peers who have not spend time in another country. The new programme facilitates access for people facing obstacles related to their economic situation, disability, social status, geographic remoteness or health-related conditions. They currently represent around 10% of mobile participants. Erasmus+ foresees additional funding for applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds based on national criteria.
The current Erasmus+ programme runs from 2014 to 2020 and has a budget of €14.7 billion. It will provide opportunities for over 4 million people to study, train, gain work experience and volunteer abroad. Participants from the UK are eligible to apply, so long as it remains a member of the European Union. The programme is managed jointly by the British Council and Ecorys UK.
More on opportunities for UK participants and how to apply
Through 2017 many events across Europe will mark Erasmus thirtieth anniversary and will provide a platform to discuss its future.
Detail on events in the UK
Erasmus+ 2015 Annual report