According to Androulla Vassiliou, European commissioner for education, culture, multilingualism and youth, who launched the student mobility scheme in London today, the UK will receive nearly £100 million (€120 million) from Erasmus+ in 2014.
That represents a 3.5 per cent increase in the funding compared with last year, said Ms Vassiliou, who launched the scheme at the British Council with Matthew Hancock, minister for state, skills and enterprise, who is in charge of further education provision.
Ms Vassiliou said about 250,000 people in the UK will benefit from the scheme between 2014 and 2020 compared with nearly 162,000 people involved in the previous Erasmus schemes that ran between 2007 and 2013.
Under the new €14.7 billion, seven-year programme, which received a 40 per cent budget increase last year, four million people are expected to gain grants to help them study, train, gain work experience or volunteer abroad to boost their skills and employability.
The scheme would help to tackle the widespread youth unemployment across Europe, said Ms Vassiliou, a former MP in Cyprus who is married to the country’s former president George Vassiliou.
About 26 million people across Europe are currently unemployed, including nearly 6 million young people, with UK youth unemployment standing at 20 per cent last year, she said.
“Investing in education and training is the best choice we can make for Europe’s future and our young people,” she said. “The international experience gained through Erasmus+ boosts skills and employability.”
The Erasmus+ scheme was also a “prime example of the major benefits that EU membership brings for Britain”, she said as it would help young people to gain extra skills required for the job market via their international travel.
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