The number of young people from Scotland given the opportunity to study or train abroad is expected to double under new funding from the EU, it has emerged.
The Erasmus+ programme will replace the traditional Erasmus programme, which caters mainly for undergraduates and has sent more than 70,000 students from the UK to spend time abroad as part of their studies.
The revamped scheme will bring together a number of other programmes aimed at school and college students, as well as the existing Erasmus provision. The idea is to create a "one-stop shop" to make it easier for young people to arrange study or training placements abroad.
With a proposed budget of EUR16 billion (pound;13.9 billion) over seven years, roughly 40 per cent more than the current level, it is hoped that Erasmus+ could mean that the number of opportunities to study or train abroad double.
The other schemes to be included in Erasmus+ include Comenius, Youth in Action and the Leonardo Da Vinci programme.
Any public or private organisation involved in education or training will be able to apply for funding from the Erasmus+ programme, including schools, universities, colleges, adult education institutions and youth organisations. The programme will also support sports initiatives for the first time.
"The new programme aims to reach almost twice the number who currently receive support for education and training abroad, between 2014 and 2020," said Ruth Sinclair-Jones, head of EU programmes at the British Council.
"This represents a fantastic opportunity for UK participants, especially for our young people, to benefit from a funded international experienceand help improve their employability."
The European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council have agreed the programme and it is due to be ratified and formally approved later this year.
Erasmus+ will "ultimately create a more streamlined approach and simplify access to funding", according to the Lifelong Learning Programme, which oversees all current provision. Existing programmes will continue, but activities will be strengthened and new schemes will be introduced.
College students and apprentices can currently take part in the Leonardo da Vinci programme, which allows them to undertake work experience with an employer in a different EU country and gain crucial skills to compete in the European economy.
About 2,000 students across the UK take advantage of that opportunity every year. Most stay abroad for between three weeks and three months, while higher education students often stay for longer.
Julia Belgutay, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The number of Scottish undergraduates studying abroad rose by 9.7 per cent between 2010-11 and 2011-12, to 1,362.
- The most popular destinations for Scottish students were France, Spain and Germany.
- The number of students leaving Scotland for work experience rose by more than 20 per cent to 448.
- 2,042 people from the UK in initial vocational training took part in the Leonardo Da Vinci programme in 2011, a drop of almost 900 compared with the previous year.
- 477 vocational education professionals took part in the programme in 2011.
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