The UK is leaving European Union in March 2019. This might place the Scottish youth and educational sector, including Xchange Scotland and many other third organisations benefiting from Erasmus+, in jeopardy.
Youth and third sector organisations across the United Kingdom have launched #KeepErasmusPlus, a national campaign to save a vital European mobility programme which has benefited over half a million people from the UK.
Erasmus+ is a European funding programme for education, training, youth and sport. It enables people – especially those who can’t otherwise afford it – to study, work, volunteer, teach and train overseas.
Erasmus+ funds all sorts of educational activities in both formal and non-formal settings, including in schools, youth exchanges, cultural projects, volunteering, vocational training and studying at university abroad.
Over the past 30 years, 600,000 people from the UK have taken part in Erasmus+. Between 2014 and 2020, Erasmus+ will have been worth £793 million to the UK.
Through partnership across the 6 Erasmus+ sectors we are lobbying politicians across the UK to maintain participation in Erasmus+ after Brexit. The campaign emphasises the positive impact of Erasmus+ on individuals and communities in Scotland.
Xchange Scotland are working together with Youth Link Scotland and many other partners across the UK to ensure we retain this unique and vital programme.
2018 is the Year of Young People. For over 30 years, people in Scotland have benefitted from our access to Erasmus funding. Let’s not let our young people down, join our campaign to #KeepErasmusPlus.
What is Erasmus+?
The Erasmus programme was launched in 1987, marking some of the first student exchanges in Europe funded by the EU. Over the years, the programme has gone from strength to strength, and now known as Erasmus+, it covers seven areas, including youth, culture and sport, alongside formal education. The programme is run centrally by the European Commission, and by national agencies in each of the participating countries. It is set to run until 2020.
Erasmus+ projects range from European Voluntary Service (EVS) projects, with volunteers funded to live and work in another European country for up to a year; training programmes for youth workers; sports camps for disadvantaged young people; to projects that encourage cultural exchange and aim to support migrants and refugees. The opportunities for empowering young people through Erasmus+ are endless.
How does Erasmus+ benefit Scotland?
Scotland reaps the benefits of Erasmus+ projects and funding – 173 projects have been (and continue to be) funded by Erasmus+ in Scotland.Funding has been directed to schools in the highlands for the provision of language teachers;football clubs across Scotland for training overseas; projects in Edinburgh focused on volunteering, immigration, mentoring and study placements; and projects in Glasgow, ranging from youth theatre, alcohol recovery, facilitating contacts with migrantsrefugees, to staff training and student exchanges for youth from deprived backgrounds, fostering ties across Europe.
Many young people in Scotland leave school prematurely, without access to employment, education or training, so are at high risk of unemployment, social exclusion and poverty. Erasmus+ has given many of these young people a unique opportunity to enhance their skills and experiences, and become active citizens both in Scotland and across Europe.
How are Xchange Scotland involved?
Xchange Scotland have been offering Erasmus+ funded opportunities to young people from diverse backgrounds for many years. We have formed partnerships with organisations in Scotland including Quarriers, Scottish Sports Future, Dean Castle and Country Park, A&M Scotland and the Auchindrain Trust, as well as organisations from other European countries such as France, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Spain and many others. We have hosted volunteers from France, Spain, Czech Republic, and Italy to name a few, and supported Scottish volunteers to participate in projects in numerous countries. Our work, funded by the Erasmus+ programme, continues to benefit individuals, organisations and society as a whole, and we hope that this may continue in a post-Brexit Scotland. You can read some of our success stories here.
How can I get involved?