ISSUE 66 page 10
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New Erasmus+ kicks off with EU sport/education budget increase
THE NEW EU PROGRAMME FOR EDUCATION, TRAINING, YOUTH AND SPORT, began at the start of the year. It gathers together all the previously separate programmes including Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci (for vocational education), Comenius, Grundtvig and Youth in Action. At €14.7 billion the seven-year overall budget is about 40% higher than the previous ones added together. This is particularly welcome as, since the economic crash, there are now six million young people without work in the European Union. Despite this there are still 2 million job vacancies in the EU and the provision will seek to plug this ‘skills gap’. According to the EU Commissioner for Education Androulla Vassiliou: ‘Erasmus+ will also contribute to the fight against youth unemployment by giving young people the opportunity to increase their knowledge and skills through experience abroad’. More than four million recipients will receive support to study, train, work or volunteer abroad, including 650,000 work training students and apprentices. As well as individual funding, 125,000 schools, vocational training institutions, adult education colleges, youth organisations and businesses will receive help to set up 25,000 'strategic partnerships' to exchange experience of the world of work across national borders. For the first time sport has its own budget, of €265 million, to promote 6000 trans-national partnerships and to combat match-fixing and doping. The commissioner believes that Erasmus+ will ‘help people make the transition from education to work, and [support] reforms to modernise and improve the quality of education in Member States. This is crucial if we are to equip our young generation with the qualifications and skills they need to succeed in life’.