PUT OUR FUTURES FIRST: REVERSE THE DECISION TO LEAVE ERASMUS+
On the 15th January 2020, the Prime Minister pledged “there is no threat to the Erasmus scheme”. Less than a year later, the Government would announce that the UK would be leaving the Erasmus+ Programme, breaking a promise that would have allowed many thousands of young people from all across the UK, no matter their background, to continue to improve their futures, their access to global opportunities, and their development as citizens of a connected
world. Erasmus+ ensures that young people can study, volunteer, engage in discussions and work all across the European Union-- all with the support necessary to ensure this privilege is not just restricted to the wealthy.
We strongly condemn the Government’s failure to ensure that the UK continues to participate in Erasmus+. A unilateral replacement, such as the proposed Turing scheme, will never be able to replicate the wealth of opportunities for all young people, or raise the same reciprocal benefits of the Erasmus Programme.
We welcome the news that the Irish Government will fund the continued participation of Northern Irish institutions in Erasmus+. However, with over 25% of Northern Irish school leavers opting to study in Great Britain, the UK Government must ensure that young people across the whole country have the same opportunities. This can only be done through our continued participation in Erasmus+.
The benefits of Erasmus, to all young people, are numerous. Alongside easing the process of studying abroad, Erasmus+ schemes help to fund vital sport, education and community projects including the UK Youth Parliament in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Students who go abroad are 20% less likely to be unemployed six months after graduation and one in three Erasmus+ work placement students are offered a job at their host company upon graduation. With students who study abroad being more likely to step into employment immediately after graduation, and substantial bursaries offered for those who need them, UK students cannot
afford to lose access to Erasmus+ schemes.
We call upon the United Kingdom Government to honour their commitment made to all young people in the UK, stand up for our future, and rejoin Erasmus+.