Today is Europe day!

Happy Europe Day! As the rest of Europe joins to mark this annual event, we thought we’d share how we have been celebrating the new programme and looking ahead to the successes Erasmus+ can bring over the next seven years.

What is Europe Day?

Europe Day, or Friday 9 May, celebrates peace and unity in Europe. It also marks the anniversary of the historical Schuman Declaration, which contained a proposal to outline the beginning of what is now the European Union. To celebrate, the EU’s institutions are opening their doors to the public in Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg cities.

But here in the UK we have also been celebrating – and what better way to do so than with our delivery teams which just so happen to be named after the three European cities.  This week we took part in a number of activities (including cake baking), on a sunny afternoon in Birmingham and raised money for our charity of the year, the Youth Cancer Trust. This was not only to celebrate Europe Day, but to welcome some new colleagues to the Birmingham Erasmus+ team as they join the programme at a busy and exciting time with applications now received under both Key Action 1 and Key Action 2 for the 2014 Call.

montage

Our teams: Strasbourg, Luxembourg… and Brussels!

The benefits of Erasmus+

The focus of employability and skills from the LLP has continued into Erasmus+ to support youth employment and improve Europe’s competitiveness. One real life example of this can be seen through sports travel company, AMsportstours Leonardo project, where participants from AMsportstours’ soccer schools undertook a two week work placement at the Olympic Institute in Stockholm. Learners gained hands-on experience in a motivational environment and developed their coaching skills while increasing their performance level.

“I completed the two week placement in May and this for me was the experience of a lifetime, the progress I made in two weeks is unbelievable…” – Robbie Lang, Mobility participant

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Erasmus+ celebrates its official launch in the UK

On Monday this week, we celebrated a very special occasion as Erasmus+ was formally launched in the UK in an event held at the British Council headquarters in London.

National Agency Director Ruth Sinclair-Jones with Sir Vernon Ellis, Commissioner Vassiliou and Deputy Director Chris Walker

National Agency Director Ruth Sinclair-Jones with Sir Vernon Ellis, Commissioner Vassiliou and Deputy Director Chris Walker

Staff met with special guests as well as some previous programme participants and promoters. We were delighted to welcome two VIP guests to the event: the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou and the UK Minister for Skills and Enterprise, Matthew Hancock. Both gave speeches on the day, along with a welcome speech from the Chair of the British Council, Sir Vernon Ellis.

 

Past Lifelong Learning Programme participant Stuart Packer from the organisation Superact gave a particularly inspiring performance on the benefits of Erasmus+ and the value of lifelong learning.

An Erasmus+ cake was cut by the Commissioner, Sir Vernon Ellis, National Agency director Ruth Sinclair-Jones and deputy director Chris Walker to mark the launch.

European Commissioner, Androulla Vassiliou with UK Minister for Skills, Matthew Hancock and Chair of the British Council, Sir Vernon Ellis

European Commissioner, Androulla Vassiliou with UK Minister for Skills, Matthew Hancock and Chair of the British Council, Sir Vernon Ellis

Commissioner Vassiliou said:

“I am delighted to be here with you to launch Erasmus+, the European Union’s new funding programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport … Erasmus+ stands for cooperation, diversity, freedom of movement and solidarity. Indeed, today we are starting a new chapter in a fantastic success story.”

Talking about how Erasmus+ can benefit young people, Commissioner Vassiliou went on to say:

“By studying, training, working or volunteering in another country, young people develop skills that will serve them for the rest of their life. They learn to live and work with people from another culture and experience a different way of thinking. They see the world through the eyes of someone else. In short, they open their minds.”

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Erasmus+ sports funding: are you on the ball?

Here in the UK we’re gearing up for a summer, jam-packed with exciting sports events: the 2014 Commonwealth GamesPlayers in action at a friendly handball game in Glasgow, the Tour de France Grand Départ in Yorkshire and, of course, our national treasure: Wimbledon.

With all this excitement in the air, we’d like to draw your attention to the funding opportunities that the Erasmus+ programme provides for sports.

So what’s the score?

The main aim of Erasmus+ Sport is to promote fair play and cooperation in sport, in order to tackle some of the major challenges facing the sector today. Sport Actions are run centrally by the European Commission’s Executive Agency in Brussels and deadlines are fast approaching. So, read on to find out more about the opportunities that are currently available under the following sports actions:

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Erasmus + Webinars: Behind the Scenes

Now that our successful round of application guidance webinars has come to a close, we thought we would share with you an exclusive look at their ‘inner workings’.

Over 30 Erasmus+ sessions focusing on Adult Education and Vocational Education and Training took place over a period of three months, with 779 delegates taking part – and from a broad range of sectors.

The webinars provided participants with a general overview of the funding opportunities available to their organisation under Erasmus+ and gave guidance on the registration and application process.

A typical comment was:

“Good clear content, excellent delivery. Obvious knowledge of subject, much appreciated.” – VET webinar participant

During a webinar session staff refer to laptop screen whilst answering questions.

Supporting applicants, Nicola refers to the real time questions whilst presenting.

At Ecorys UK we ran sessions giving tailored application information and detailed guidance on completing the relevant KA1 and KA2 application e-Forms. The real-time chat box allowed participants to fire off their questions to the moderators as the presentation was delivered, creating good engagement between the presenters and participants. Read the rest of this entry »


Key Action 2 guidance now available

As we come to the end of March, we know that many of you will be working on applications for Key Action 2, and so we are pleased to say that our tailored application guidance is now available under the Key Documents section of the Strategic Partnerships for VET and Adult Education pages on the Erasmus+ website.

The application guidance is there to help you as a step-by-step guide to completing the 2014 Erasmus+ Key Action 2 Strategic Partnerships application eForm for your field. We would recommend that you read this guidance, and please continue to refer to our website before submitting your application.

Further support available – Advice Sessions

We are running one-to-one telephone advice sessions for organisations in vocational education and training (VET) or adult education, who are interested in Key Action 2. Sessions will be available over nine days from Monday 7 April to Thursday 17 April 2014. In order to book your tailored advice session, you will first need to complete a Project Summary in full and email it to erasmusplus@uk.ecorys.com. One of our team will then get in touch to arrange a personalised discussion at a convenient time. A session will last around 30 minutes.

Please note that sessions will concentrate on helping to ensure that your project is suitable for Key Action 2 funding before you submit your eForm application. Advice sessions are not intended as the place to go to for general information on Erasmus+ or Key Action 2, and are best suited to organisations already developing their project. You can read more on the advice sessions page on the Erasmus+ website.

You can visit our website www.erasmusplus.org.uk for the latest Erasmus+ news


Searching for Success

Search engines provide a conundrum of possibilities that often give you more questions rather than answers; questioning the most appropriate and reliable content to source. For businesses expanding trade it is important to be able to find the right information to understand business culture with your international partners as with students searching for work placements online.

business-culture-p2t2-logo-300x100The 2014 European Search Awards celebrates the very best in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Digital and Content Marketing from around the world. So recently we were delighted to hear that a Lifelong Learning Programme project had been recognised as part of the awards. Shortlisted in the category; Best Use of Search-Third Sector is buisnessculture.org. The website is part of the Passport to Trade 2.0, Transfer of Innovation project launched by University of Salford Business School to provide business culture guides. These include social media etiquette for 31 countries, information on online and face-to-face networking and trade, plus not to mention practical advice for students considering placements abroad. Read the rest of this entry »


The importance of citizenship

With European and local elections just around the corner, we thought we would share some of the key points from an event highlighting EU citizenship and social inclusion, as well as some exciting news from one of our projects which exemplifies this within the Lifelong Learning Programme.

Celebrating 50 years of CSV and award winning projects

European Year of CitizensEuropean Year of CitizensLast week I attended a seminar in Birmingham which included an insightful conversation with MEPs led by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), Community Service Volunteers (CSV) and the Open University. It was organised as part of the EU for You Project, which aims to build awareness of the wider concept of EU citizenship and encourage society to engage with European policy-making. Last year the NCVO worked with the CSV to co-ordinate a range of activities promoting participation in governance, basic rights and inclusive citizenship as part of the European Year of Citizens 2013.

The final speaker at the event was Oonagh Aitken, Director for Social Action, Volunteering, Policy and Fundraising at CSV, who spoke about the benefits and impact of some of the organisation’s projects promoting social inclusion. She explained that the organisation, which has recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, is hoping to give more people the opportunity to go abroad and undertake mobilities in Erasmus+.

The Eviva project

The charity recently shared some great news that their Eviva Grundtvig Senior Volunteering project had been voted as the best exchange in the programme by the Italian National Agency. The Eviva project linked CSV’s successful retired and senior volunteering project in the UK with CESAVO volunteer bureau in Italy with the aim of increasing learning opportunities for older people through volunteering.

Each organisation sent six volunteers on a three week exchange with a focus on learning from their partners’ work with disabled people and befriending the socially isolated. One volunteer who works as part of their telephone befriending service explained that she was grateful to learn new approaches from the Italian bureau’s similar service:

“I have learned a lot about the Italian social system, old people’s homes and schools and I feel that I would like to instil the same sense of commitment in the RSVP members in London that I have experienced in Savona.” CSV senior volunteer

The exchange has been included as a star project on the European Shared Treasure database and you can read more about the exchange and subsequent visits on the Eviva project’s website.

For more information about mobility opportunties for Adult Education staff, please visit the Erasmus+ website.


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