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East of Scotland’s €11m of Erasmus grants for schools, colleges, universities and even national football teams

ESEC’s ongoing to research into the impact of EU funding in our region has revealed that one of the main EU programmes we work with, Erasmus+, has provided financial support of over €11 million to projects in the east of Scotland since 2014.

“Our area has received €11,042,493 to date but even this is a conservative total as it only covers local-led projects” said ESEC chair Councillor Ben Lawrie of Angus Council, the current host of the consortium. “In 2017, Scotland as a whole has been awarded its highest ever amount of Erasmus funding – €21m so far compared to €16m in 2016.”

“It is the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus programme this year, and these figures highlight the value it brings in all areas of education, offering opportunities for participants to study, work, volunteer and train overseas, as well as awarding financial support for local schools and nurseries to provide language training for pupils and teachers. Even football clubs can take part to support young players in attending winter camps elsewhere in the EU.”

The seven members of ESEC are Aberdeen City, Angus, Dundee, Falkirk, Fife, Perth & Kinross and Stirling Councils and a large number of projects across the seven areas have received Erasmus+ awards.

“Erasmus+ is a great resource for our young people,” continued Cllr Lawrie. “However, the projects and initiatives this programme funds are worth so much more than simply a monetary value – they are providing unique opportunities for all ages throughout Scotland.”

Dundee & Angus College has received Erasmus+ funding of around €750,000 in the last three years.  “The Erasmus+ programme allows us to offer life changing opportunities to our students,” said Lol Scragg, International Project Lead at the college. “Thanks to this programme’s financial support, our students can undertake work placements and study in Europe and around the world. In addition it allows staff to join projects with our European partners to share knowledge and continually improve our provision to our students.”

Erasmus+ has also helped Aberdeen, Cowdenbeath, Dundee United and St Johnstone Football Clubs to provide winter camp experiences for their young players, with an emphasis of exposing them to the footballing skills and cultures of different countries.

“Thanks to Erasmus+ funding, we were able to offer two trips to Austria and Portugal for our Under-20s squad and staff,” said Steven Gunn, Football Operations Manager of Aberdeen Football Club. “The opportunities provided by these visits were hugely important in the development of our young footballers, both personally and professionally.”

St Johnstone Football Club’s Under-20 team and boys from the Saints Academy’s Under-17s team recently returned from a two-week training camp in Portugal, during which they played against two local sides and attended a Portuguese First Division match. “This trip wouldn’t have been feasible without Erasmus funding,” said Under-20 coach Alex Cleland.

“It was a very useful experience for them all but especially for the Under-17 lads who got a real taste of what fulltime training is all about. The benefits to the boys and the club were invaluable.”

The Dundee United project allowed for a group of 20 apprentices (16 to 19 years old) to gain experience of the training methods at a UEFA acknowledged Centre of Excellence in Turkey. Specific objectives of the project included increased maturity and a sense of initiative, enhanced intercultural awareness, and increased motivation both on and off the field. The Cowdenbeath project sent 16 apprentices (aged 16-19 years) to attend a world class coaching complex in Portugal, one of the main objectives being to improve the physiological development of participants via the implementation of innovative training regimes.

Although Britain’s departure from the EU is looming, Councillor Lawrie stressed that this need not mean the end of Erasmus collaboration for Scottish organisations.

“Our access to Erasmus+ does not need to be restricted as a result of Brexit. Non-EU members such as Norway are very much involved in Erasmus+ and we will be pushing for our communities to have continued access to the wealth of opportunities available. We will be insisting that the UK government guarantees this during Brexit negotiations.”

Breakdown of the figures per area:

  • Aberdeen – €4,535,685.00
  • Angus – €964,079.00 (includes D&A College figures)
  • Dundee – €2,357,179.00 (includes D&A College figures)
  • Falkirk – €48,614.00
  • Fife – €2,324,959.00
  • Perth and Kinross – €1,183,899.00
  • Stirling – €1,463,544.00

For more information on how to access Erasmus+ funding, please contact the ESEC Secretariat – esec@angus.org.uk