In a recent announcement, the Welsh Government declared that they will have a new international learning exchange programme following the withdrawal of the UK from the Erasmus+ scheme. The new scheme will run from 2022 to 2026 and get investment support of a whopping £65m from the Welsh Government.

It will enable staff and learners, both from Wales and the rest of the world, to continue deriving international exchange opportunities, just as they had them coming from Erasmus+. The Programme funding will extend to staff, learners, and students across universities, schools, adult education, youth work settings, and further education and vocational education and training.

The beneficiaries can undertake structured learning or work experience abroad. The programme also aspires to enable strategic partnerships. Since it follows the fundamental principle of reciprocity, the new scheme will fund the costs of inward mobility of teachers, learners, and young people from overseas strategic partners.

While the initiative will keep the existing partnerships built up under Erasmus + on track, it will also help create new ones. With this, it will raise the international profile of Wales and offer opportunities for the beneficiaries. The aim of the programme is to send across 15,000 participants from Wales overseas and get 10,000 participants from overseas here over the first four years.

Cardiff University has undertaken the responsibility for developing the program over the next year. It will work with an advisory board comprising stakeholders from the youth and education sectors. Funded activities under the programme will get underway in 2022/3.

Meanwhile, Welsh institutions will be a part of the Turing Scheme of the UK Government in 2021/2. They will also get ongoing benefits from Erasmus+ exchanges postponed from last year due to COVID-19. It will fill the gaps by Turing, which include the commitment to long-term funding, the inclusion of youth work, and the principle of two-way exchanges.

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