Thursday 26 January 2017


More than 40,000 people from the United Kingdom went abroad on the Erasmus+ scheme during 2015-16, to study, train, volunteer or gain professional experience, according to new figures released today, an increase from 36,734 people in 2014. 

According to the latest statistics and the European Commission’s Erasmus+ 2015 annual report, the UK is also the number one destination for education staff to train abroad, with 13,799 staff training in the UK, ahead of Spain with 12,630 and Italy with 10,226. 

The UK is also the third most popular destination for students volunteering, studying or training abroad with 49,896 people, coming behind Spain (66,768) and Germany (53,706).   Most participants from the UK went to Spain (5,885), followed by France (5,021) and Germany (3,074).

The report has been released to coincide with the launch of the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus+ European Exchange programme, which has enabled nearly 600,000 people from the UK to go abroad during the last 30 years. In 1987, fewer than 1,000 pioneering university students from the UK participated in the first year of the original Erasmus scheme. 

UK enthusiasm for the programme remained high in 2016, with the UK National Agency allocating up to €130m compared to just over €120 million in 2015. The UK budget is expected to grow to more than € 200 million in 2020 in the final year of the current programme. 

Ruth Sinclair-Jones, Erasmus+ UK National Agency Director said, 

“In 2017 around €145 million is available to UK organisations to fund life-changing opportunities for thousands of young people and to form partnerships with organisations across Europe, to internationalise education, training and youth work, and address common issues such as youth unemployment and social integration. The 30th anniversary gives an opportunity to celebrate the continuing positive impact of Erasmus+ for the UK.”

An overwhelming number of young people want to see international exchange schemes such as Erasmus+ protected as the UK prepares to leave the European Union, a recent study by the British Council has found.

Amongst 2,000 UK adults surveyed about their attitudes towards language learning and international awareness in the light of the EU referendum, 74 per cent of 18-24 year olds said opportunities for young people to experience other languages and cultures must be maintained. 

2017 funding deadlines for Erasmus+ start on 2 February. 


Notes to Editor

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About the British Council

1.      About Erasmus+

Erasmus+ is the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport for 2014-2020.

Erasmus+ aims to modernise education, training and youth work across Europe. It is open to education, training, youth and sport organisations across all sectors of Lifelong Learning, including schools education, further and higher education, adult education and the youth sector. Erasmus+ provides funding for organisations to offer opportunities to students, teachers, apprentices, volunteers, youth leaders and people working in grassroots’ sport. It will also provide funding for partnerships between organisations such as educational institutions, youth organisations, enterprises, local and regional authorities and NGOs, as well as support for reforms in European countries to modernise education and training and to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and employability.

Erasmus+ succeeds the former Erasmus, Comenius, Youth in Action, Leonardo, Grundtvig and Transversal programmes which ran from 2007-2013.

The programme is managed in the UK by the Erasmus+ UK National Agency, which is a partnership between the British Council and Ecorys UK.

For further information visit or follow @erasmusplusuk on Twitter

2. About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. Using the UK’s cultural resources we make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications.

Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. The majority of our income is raised delivering a range of projects and contracts in English teaching and examinations, education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and 

 3. About Ecorys UK

Ecorys UK, part of the international research, consulting and management services company Ecorys, provides high-quality communication, research and technical assistance services across education, economic and social policy areas. Ecorys employs over 150 staff in the UK specialising in education and culture, employment and labour markets, economic and international development, communications, public grant managed programmes and capacity building. Our mission is to add value to public service delivery through our experience of the entire policy cycle. Further information from