Based on the last statistics, in 2019 54,619 young people participated in the Erasmus Plus programme to and from the UK. This happened thanks to 684 projects activated with the support of 144.69 millions grants.
The Erasmus Plus programme is a well-established scheme that provides crucial fundings to support existing relationships to mobility initiatives. Not just mobility in education and training, but also mobility in the field of youth, from Outermost regions. And also Erasmus Mundus and the Erasmus Plus Master Loans (Key Action 1). Other initiatives are those aiming to build cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices (Key Action 2). Plus initiatives to support the policy reform (Key Action 3). The decision to opt out robs youngsters and students of opportunities that are central to academic, personal and professional development.
Under the new deal with the EU, the UK has decided to leave the Erasmus Plus Programme due to BREXIT. It includes also the European Solidarity Corps.
This means that the English and European youngsters, willing to go to the UK for mobility initiatives, will no longer participate in the Erasmus Plus Programme starting from January 2021. The reason given by the UK is that the Erasmus Plus Programme would have been too expensive to face after BREXIT. The existing Erasmus scheme is thought to be worth around £243 millions in income a year to the UK economy.
Despite the UK leaving the Erasmus Plus, UK and other countries beneficiaries can continue to take part in grants already approved until their end date, even if it is after 2020.
The BREXIT deal on Erasmus Plus would effectively blow a hole in the education sector and deprive young people of opportunities, as it facilitates opportunities for young people for whom it otherwise would not be financially viable.
As a replacement to the Erasmus Plus programme, the UK Prime Minister has mentioned the “Turing Scheme“. The Prime Minister says this will give students the opportunities to travel to “the best universities in the world”. Not solely universities based in Europe. Such new scheme seems to identify as a one-way scheme with English participants only. It is also designed only for universities and schools. There is no provision (as far as we know) for non-formal education, youth, sport, vocational training or lifelong learning.
The implications about travelling and visas are not clear so far. In fact there is not a statement by the UK Government nor a guidance by the National Agency on the matter.