Programme offered opportunity, skills and experience to young people
YouthLink Scotland has today published a letter sent to the UK government criticising the withdrawal from the Erasmus programme and the new Turing scheme.
In the letter to Oliver Dowden CBE, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Tim Frew, CEO of YouthLink Scotland said withdrawing from Erasmus will seriously undermine opportunities for young people.
The letter states: “We are at a loss understand why such a successful programme like Erasmus, which does not require membership of the EU to participate, would not have been considered as worth retaining.
“From what little detail we have about the Turing scheme, it is very clear that, as currently framed, it is no substitute for the development opportunities and international collaboration that Erasmus offers.”
The Turing Scheme is set to start in September, backed by more than £100m, which will fund around 35,000 school, college and university students to go on placements and exchanges.
But education ministers in Scotland pointed out that the budget for Erasmus, now known as Erasmus+, had been set at €26.2bn (£23.1bn) over the next seven years.
They also said the Turing Scheme would offer “no support whatsoever” for those in adult education and youth work and would reduce funding for others.
Frew states in the letter: “As you will be aware, the Erasmus+ programme benefits young people much wider than merely those within higher education. In fact, it’s often those young people who are furthest away from university, who benefit most.
“Erasmus+ covers higher education, adult education, vocational education and training, youth, schools and sport. 10% of the total Erasmus+ funding currently is ring-fenced for the Youth strand, and this would have doubled in the next phase, meaning that even more young people, who might otherwise not have had the opportunity, would have been able to participate in an international exchange.
“The full Erasmus+ programme not only benefits young people, it also creates opportunities for youth workers to share knowledge and practice, which has proved invaluable during Covid-19.
“We are at a loss understand why such a successful programme like Erasmus+, which does not require membership of the EU to participate, would not have been considered as worth retaining.”
Erasmus has offered student exchanges as well as school links, work experience and apprenticeships across Europe since 1987, with around 15,000 British students taking part each year.