Earlier this week was VQ Day, an opportunity to celebrate vocational qualifications and their impact on individuals and the UK economy. Lots of activities took place including an awards ceremony to mark great achievements in vocational education and not forgetting a digital message from the Skills Minister to VET learners across the UK.
There were also plenty of ways to get involved online, either by sharing your story in the VQ Day Yearbook, joining the Roll Call or tweeting using the hashtag #vqday. Here in the Erasmus+ UK communications team, we thought we would highlight some of the real life examples of those who have taken the vocational qualifications route to further their career.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.”
Here in the UK we’re gearing up for a summer, jam-packed with exciting sports events: the 2014 Commonwealth Games 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: