Kildare projects can now apply for the Erasmus+ programme, according to the organisation Léargas.
The group, which acts as the nation's National Agency for the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme, has said that, with the Government announcement that international youth work can resume this month, travel and transnational placements will continue to be a cornerstone of the programme as Europe reopens post-pandemic.
It added that 70 per cent of the 2021-2027 Erasmus+ budget will be pledged to fund mobility projects.
Léargas also said that funding is available to support projects for organisations active in education, training or youth work in Kildare, and highlights the results of a recently published impact report on European work placements for vocational learners.
Lorraine Gilligan, the Executive Director of the education agency, said: "The Erasmus+ programme offers a unique, life-changing opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to explore Europe through exchange and peer-to-peer learning, and we’re delighted to see the experiences of vocational learners highlighted in this report."
The acting Communications Manager of Léargas and author of the report, Charis Hughes, also commented: "European work placements have had a profound impact on vocational learners from Ireland."
"For many, it is their first experience of living and working away from home and offers them a vital taste of independence."
She continued: "These placements enable learners to ‘road test’ their vocational area, and either confirm or change their choice at an early stage of their career.
European placements make learners more culturally aware and more willing to live and work in other countries."
Ms Hughes went on to add that the first-hand experience of being ‘alien’ in a different country, culture or work environment, also helped to increase their empathy towards those in similar situations at home in Ireland.
She explained: "The Further Education sector in Ireland is extremely diverse, involving people of all age and backgrounds."
"This European Union funding and support, combined with the support vocational learners received from their sending organisations, opens up European opportunities to many who may never have otherwise had them."
Findings from Léargas' report:
The report, ‘Tracing the impact of European work placements on the skills, attitudes, education and career paths of vocational learners from Ireland’, finds that the financial support from European programmes such as Erasmus+ enables vocational learners to take up work experience abroad which they might not otherwise have the opportunity to do so.
The report also found that:
In addition, ore than two-thirds of respondents also stated that because of their placements, they would not be afraid to work (66 per cent) or study (68 per cent) abroad.
One respondent to the report said: "As I am a mature student of 50 plus, I would never have had the opportunity to go otherwise. I loved it. [It] gave me great confidence."
"Should I have that opportunity again, I could gladly take it."
Applications for Erasmus+ Mobility projects close on Tuesday, October 5, while applications for Erasmus+ Partnership projects close on Wednesday, November 3.
Further information about Erasmus+ is available at: https://www.leargas.ie.
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