Published: Tue, 05 August 2014
Over 4,000 Irish third level students took advantage of the EU Erasmus study abroad programme last year, according to Sean Kelly MEP who wants more young people to take up the opportunity.
“Over 2012-2013, a total of 4,387 Irish college students continued their studies in other European Member States or took up job placements. It is a wonderful programme that gives young people the chance to practice their third language, live independently abroad and experience other cultures. I would like to see the numbers taking up the opportunity increase in the years to come,” Mr Kelly said.
Nearly 270 000 students, a record high, benefitted from the EU grants to study or train abroad in 2012-2013. While studying at another university continues to be the most popular choice, one in five students opted for Erasmus job placements in companies. The three most popular destinations for Erasmus students in 2012-2013 were Spain, Germany and France. Countries sending the highest number of students as a proportion of their graduate population were Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Finland, Latvia and Spain.
“The new Erasmus+ programme, which came into force in January 2014, aims to boost skills and employability, modernise education, training, and youth work. I and other MEPs campaigned and voted in favour of a budget boost for the programme increasing its value by 40 per cent to €14.7 billion, reflecting the EU’s commitment to investing in these areas.”
The seven year Erasmus+ will provide opportunities for over four million Europeans to study, train, gain work experience and volunteer abroad. It is hoped that some 50,000 Irish students could benefit from such placements by 2020.
During his last mandate as a member of the European Parliament, Mr Kelly lobbied intensively for the revised education scheme to include emphasis on sport. As a result, funded support will now be available for grassroots projects and cross-border efforts will be made to combat match-fixing, doping, violence and racism.