The Loss of Erasmus is a Loss for all our Young People

Erasmus supports schools, youth groups, volunteers apprentices and sports clubs – not just students

The UK Government’s decision not to participate in the Erasmus programme will negatively impact all young people across our communities, not just university students, according to Cllr Will Dawson, chair of the East of Scotland European Consortium. Usually referred to as the EU’s ‘student exchange programme’ Erasmus is much broader more than this. It allows for teachers to improve their language skills in other countries; for youth groups to undertake visits with counterparts across Europe; and even for football clubs to send young players to training camps in the likes of Spain, Portugal and Turkey.

Since 2014, organisations across seven ESEC council areas (Aberdeen, Angus, Dundee, Falkirk, Fife, Perth & Kinross, and Stirling) have been awarded bumper amounts in funding from the Erasmus+ programme, totalling more than €18 million. More than 500 schools across Scotland have received funding, and in the East of Scotland alone, more than €1 million in projects has been awarded.

Examples of Erasmus projects include:

The PanTayside Language Training Programme, a collaboration between Angus, Dundee City, and Perth & Kinross Councils, which was awarded €191,600 in 2019 and will support 80 teachers in attending language immersion courses in France or Spain.

The Dees without Frontiers project, led by Dundee FC Community Trust. This allowed the Trust to send 17 local teenagers to Cordoba, completing football training tasks, visiting local landmarks, and learning Spanish.

Erasmus funding 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. The Scottish Government has stated it is exploring “alternative options” for organisations in Scotland to participate in the scheme, with Richard Lochhead MSP, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education & Science, noting the wide reach that Erasmus has: “It’s use in Scotland is wide ranging e.g. colleges, schools, youth work, adult learners, training, community groups etc. And Scotland’s participation is highest in UK.”

Councillor Dawson said “The debate around Erasmus portrays the programme as an out-of-touch, elite scheme which only serves students and universities. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and in fact projects which support disadvantaged young people, from nursery age onwards, are often prioritised. We are disappointed in the decision of the UK Government to not participate in Erasmus. While we welcome the creation of the Turing Scheme to allow for international student exchanges, this look like it will cover just a fraction of the types of projects supported by Erasmus, meaning a lot of our young people will miss out. We support the Scottish Government as it explores how Scottish organisations can continue to be valued partners in the scheme.”

Ends

If you require further information, please contact: Joanne Scobie, ESEC EU Officer, at joanne.scobie@dundeecity.gov.uk