Manager of Bhagavat Educational Trust and experienced LLP promotor Paul Baron is no stranger to the spotlight. He recently received a 2013 Charity Times Award for outstanding individual achievement and was awarded an MBE in the 2012 New Years Honours List for services to vulnerable children.
It is therefore with no surprise that we learned of his invitation to present and share his knowledge of good practice at the ‘Role of VET in Making Education More Inclusive conference’ held in Vilnius, by the EU Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. We found out more about what happened at the event in the Lithuanian capital and look at key themes in Vocational Education and Training on the horizon for 2014.
Making education more inclusive
The event discussed European and national training VET strategies exploring ways to make education more inclusive and contributing towards meeting the EU Education and Training 2020 strategy targets. Bhagavat Educational Trust, which was set up in 1997 to further education and relieve poverty in developing countries, was chosen as an example of best practice with an input on two out of three workshops that were hosted as part of the conference. The first workshop Enhancing VET provision to meet the needs of people with fewer opportunities and the third looking at widening access to continuing VET.
This year I was lucky enough to be invited to not only attend The Skills Show at the NEC in Birmingham, but I was also invited to the Opening Ceremony. The Skills Show is the UK’s largest skills and career event and covered the space of 7 football pitches this year! It showcased the fantastic skills that we have in the UK (over 700 UK finalists were competing in the World Skills Competition), as well as the opportunities available to develop these skills – from Further Education to apprenticeships. For me, it created a truly inspiring atmosphere.
Celebrating vocational skills
The representation of apprenticeships, and other forms of vocational training at The Skills Show, was phenomenal. Watching the World Skills finalists compete was amazing – such talent! The five skill areas on show were the Built Environment, Cultural & Creative Arts, Engineering, IT & Business Administration and Social & Professional Services. What I found really refreshing was the opportunity to get involved and try out the different skills, from optometry to broadcasting with the BBC, floristry to forensic science, and cake decorating to house building! There was also the opportunity to attend a “Spotlight Speaker” session, hosted not only by industry leaders but also by apprentices, giving a real life take on what it is actually like to be working and earning whilst training.
Shaping the UK’s skills future
Having worked in the Leonardo team for five years now I am a true advocate of Vocational Education and Training. It’s encouraging to think that events such as The Skills Show will continue to shape the UK’s skills future.
Erasmus+, the new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport, which starts on 1 January 2014, will have a strong focus on skills and employability. The new programme will build on the success of the Leonardo da Vinci programme to develop not only the competencies of individuals throughout Europe but it will also broaden their understanding of the policy and practices that underpin their learning. It’s unbelievable to think that Erasmus+ will enable over 650,000 vocational students across Europe to complete part of their education and/or training abroad over the course of the next 7 years!
About our author
Thank you to Lauren Beech who wrote this week’s skills focus post. Lauren is a Senior Project Manager in the Leonardo Mobility team.
Following the publication of the Call for Proposals and Programme Guide by the European Commission, we have launched a new How to Apply page on the Erasmus+ website.
Here you can find out more about the application process and next steps for UK organisations.
- Eligibility criteria
- Funding levels
- Project activities and durations
- Application process
In order to help beneficiaries prepare their applications in time for the 2014 deadlines, which are from mid-March onwards, the European Commission has also made available reference copies of the application forms. The online forms are expected to be available from the end of January next year.
The European Commission has today published the Call for Proposals for Erasmus+, the new EU funding programme for education, training, youth and sport.
The Call provides high-level details on programme eligibility, award criteria, the budgets for 2014 and application deadlines. Further details on the programme will be given in the Programme Guide which is expected to be published shortly by the European Commission.
The deadlines for applications for Key Actions 1, 2 and 3, Jean Monnet activities and Sport are included in the Call with the first deadlines starting from mid March onwards. For more information on how to apply and support and guidance to help you through the process, please go to the How to Apply section of the UK Erasmus+ website.
The Call documents will include the administrative details of the new Erasmus+ programme including deadlines for applications and eligibility criteria.
The Programme Guide will provide detailed information on the new programme covering all the funding opportunities available for education, training, youth and sport.
We will publish links to both the Call for Proposals and the Erasmus+ Programme Guide as soon as they are available on the Erasmus+ website.
The Council of the European Union has formally adopted Erasmus+, enabling the new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport to enter into force from January 2014. This adoption signifies an important final step in the European legal process which began in November 2011, with an initial proposal for the programme from the European Commission.
The European Union’s budget for 2014 – 2020 has also been agreed this week, confirming the budget for Erasmus+ of just under €14.7 billion over seven years.
“I am pleased that Erasmus+ has now been adopted formally by the Council. The budget increase of 40% demonstrates the EU’s commitment to education and training. Erasmus+ will enable young people to increase their knowledge and skills through experience abroad which will improve their employability. While a majority of the budget will be used for individual mobility grants, Erasmus+ will also support partnerships to help people make the transition from education to work, and reforms to modernise and improve the quality of education in Member State.”
Next steps: The final signature on Erasmus+ by the European Parliament and the Council is expected on 11 December 2013.
November has been a significant month in the final steps towards the approval of the Erasmus+ programme.
On 19 November, the European Parliament voted in overwhelming majority for the new EU education, training, youth and sport programme. On the same day, the European Parliament also approved the EU’s budget for 2014 – 2020 which confirms the budget for the Erasmus+ programme. The new EU education, training, youth and sport programme will receive 14.7 billion euros over seven years, with an increase of 40% on the current Lifelong Learning and Youth in Action programme budgets. Erasmus+ is only one of three programmes, along with Creative Europe and Horizon 2020, to receive an increased budget in times of austerity, when the overall EU budget has been cut.
The final step in the legal process is for the programme to be approved by the Council which is expected to take place within a month. Following this approval from the Council, Erasmus+ will enter into force on 1 January 2014.
Mid-December 2013 – Call for Proposals published
1 January 2014 – Erasmus+ begins
January 2014 – Application forms published
March 2014 onwards – Application deadlines
Information and Support
Ecorys, the UK National Agency for the Leonardo, Grundtvig and Transversal programmes, is hosting a series of Briefing Sessions around the country on the new Erasmus+ programme. The purpose of the sessions is to provide an overview of the funding opportunities available under Erasmus+ from January 2014 for adult education and Vocational and Education Training organisations. Places are still available for the Cardiff Briefing Session on 12 December and the deadline for the close of registration is 28 November 2013. Please click here to register: http://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/news/launch-erasmus-briefing-sessions
If you can’t make it along to one of the sessions, there is a document with all the key information delivered at the events, along with the latest factsheets on Erasmus+, available for you to download here: http://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/latest-news/briefing-sessions
The European Commission has also published information on the new programme, along with a range of resources, on their Erasmus+ webpage which you can download for further information.