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The Welsh Government has presented a new international learning exchange programme. It will enable learners and staff, both from Wales and those who come to study or work in Wales, to benefit from international exchanges in a similar way to the opportunities from Erasmus+.
The programme follows the UK Government’s decision to withdraw from the Erasmus+ programme. The new scheme – which will run from 2022 to 2026 – will provide funding to enable students and staff to undertake a period of learning or work experience overseas, as well as enabling strategic partnerships. This new scheme will be supported by an investment of GPB 65 million (EUR 75 million) from the Welsh Government.
A fundamental principle of the programme will be reciprocity. Where necessary, the programme will fund costs related to the inward mobility of learners, teachers and young people from partner organisations abroad. This will enable existing partnerships which have been built up under Erasmus + to continue and help to create new ones. The scheme aims to enable 15,000 participants from Wales to go on overseas mobility exchanges over the first four years, with 10,000 participants coming to study or work in Wales.
As the Welsh First Minister, Mark Drakeford, said, “As we emerge from the pandemic, the Welsh Government is committed to ensuring Wales remains an outward-looking nation, which welcomes those who come to study or work here and embraces partnerships across Europe and the world.”
Even though Wales expressed its interest in re-joining the Erasmus+ programme, European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen determined that such an arrangement was not possible (ACA February 2021). Welsh institutions will be able to participate in the UK Government’s Turing Scheme in 2021/2, and they will also continue to benefit from Erasmus+ exchanges deferred from last year due to the pandemic. The new Welsh programme will focus on the commitment to long-term funding, the principle of two-way exchanges and the inclusion of youth work.
Find more information here.