Following last night’s defeat of the Clause which would have required the UK Government to seek to negotiate continuing full membership of the EU’s Erasmus+ education and youth programme, ColegauCymru is extremely concerned about the impact on learners in Wales.
The vocational element of Erasmus+ enables learners and apprentices to spend two weeks on work placement in European countries with opportunities ranging from catering and engineering to assisting in a seal sanctuary. UK Ministers have missed an opportunity to provide certainty to Wales’ Erasmus+ beneficiaries that these enriching learning experiences will continue to be available to young people in the future.
Chief Executive of ColegauCymru, Iestyn Davies, said
“I am appalled at the decision to rule out seeking continuing full membership of the Erasmus+ scheme. In essence this, blocks FE learners and students from participation in an internationally recognised programme. ColegauCymru’s Erasmus+ projects to date have enabled close to 2000 young people from across Wales, to benefit from these life-changing opportunities. To deny them to future generations is a genuine tragedy and contradicts any sense of “Global Britain”.
“I am seeking an urgent meeting with Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart, to understand exactly why he and his colleagues feel unable to support learners from Wales to continue accessing vocational work placements in Europe. I would also want to know what plans the UK Government has to offer an alternative scheme that will match the level of funding that ColegauCymru has accessed from Erasmus+ for learners in Wales – close to €5m since Erasmus+ was launched in 2014.
“As we enter a new decade, future generations of learners from Wales must not be disadvantaged. Decisions taken now will impact on our learners in the decades ahead.”