Welsh Government announces new International Learning Exchange programme

The new International Learning Exchange programme will fill the gap left by the removal of Erasmus+

The Welsh Government has invested £64m into the new International Learning Exchange scheme, which runs from 2022-2226, and enables both “learners and staff… from Wales and those who come to study or work in Wales, to continue to benefit from international exchanges in a similar way to the opportunities that flowed from Erasmus+, not just in Europe but also further afield”.

The funding will provide the means for up to 15,000 staff and students from a range of education settings, including schools and FE, to spend time overseas for “structured learning or work experience”.

The programme is based on ‘reciprocity’ enabling up to 10,000 people from partner exchanges to study or work in Wales. “This will enable existing partnerships which have been built up under Erasmus+ to continue and help to create new ones, raising Wales’ international profile as well as offering opportunities to those who benefit directly,” says the Welsh Government.

This is a down payment on our young people’s futures, offering opportunities to all, from all backgrounds – Mark Drakeford, the first minister

Kirsty Williams, the education minister, said: “Our students and staff are vital ambassadors for us overseas, promoting the message that Wales is an inviting destination for students and partners across the world, and their education and cultural awareness are improved in many ways as a result of spending time abroad – just as our education providers are enriched by students and staff visiting Wales to study and teach.

“By investing in this programme now, we are investing in a strong, international and prosperous future for all young people in Wales.”

The programme will be developed over the next year by Cardiff University, in conjunction with a team of advisors from the education and youth sectors. Professor Colin Riordan, the president and vice-chancellor of Cardiff University, said the scheme will help raise “the global profile of Wales as a connected, open and inviting country”.

Mark Drakeford, the first minister, said: “This is a down payment 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.”

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