Wales will have its own Erasmus style programme

‘We owe it to the next generation of students and learners’

Wales is set to launch its own version of Erasmus education exchange programme, exclusive from the rest of the UK.

First Minister Mark Drakeford announced that his government plans to spend £65 million on this “international learning exchange.”

The Welsh government says this programme will “fill in the gaps” left by Boris Johnson’s Turing programme.

Prime Minister Johnson announced the Turing programme as a replacement to his government’s withdrawal from the Erasmus programme as a part of the Brexit deal last year.

Welsh institutions will still be able to take part in the Turing programme come September of this year.

In support of the Welsh government’s new programme, Mark Drakeford said: “Spending time studying, volunteering or on work placements abroad broadens horizons, expands key skills and brings benefits to communities and organisations here in Wales. We are determined to ensure that young people across our country benefit from these opportunities.

“This is a downpayment on our young people’s futures, offering opportunities to all, from all backgrounds. Securing these opportunities is particularly important in the context of the difficulties experienced by young people and learners across Wales as a result of the pandemic.”

Cardiff University has taken the responsibility to deliver this new programme over the next academic year which begins in 2022.

According to the Welsh government this new scheme “will fill the gaps Turing leaves, including, crucially, the commitment to long-term funding, the retention of the principle of two-way exchanges and the inclusion of youth work.”

Wales’ Education Minister, Kristy Williams, said: “We have been clear that international exchange programmes, which bring so many benefits to participants, as well as their education providers and wider community, should build on the excellent opportunities that the Erasmus programme offered.

“We owe it to this next generation of students and learners to have the same opportunities previous years had.”

Guy Lacey, the chair of ColegauCymru and principal of Coleg Gwent FE college, lauded this announcement, and said: “The value of international exchange programmes has long been known in the FE sector, providing opportunities to broaden the horizons of its participants which in turn gives a positive impact on individuals, colleges and the wider community.”

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