Press release

£800 million to help UK students study overseas

Thousands of UK students will be helped to study overseas thanks to the new EU programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Thousands of UK students will be helped to study overseas thanks to the new EU programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport, Universities Minister David Willetts announced today (14 November 2013).

The 2014-20 Erasmus+ programme is designed to double the number of people in the EU benefiting from opportunities abroad.

Funded by the European Commission, and bringing together a number of existing EU programmes, Erasmus+ is worth an estimated £793 million (€940 million) to the UK. It will increase opportunities for international study, teaching and volunteering in Europe and beyond.

Speaking at the Sutton Trust’s International Summit today, David Willetts announced the contract to deliver Erasmus+ in the UK had been awarded to the British Council, in partnership with Ecorys UK.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:

At present, very few British students study abroad. For every 15 foreign students studying in the UK, there is just 1 UK student studying abroad.

In an increasingly global economy, this means we are missing out on vital skills, which is why we are encouraging our young people to study overseas as part of our International Education Strategy.

Erasmus+ will give more young people from the UK the opportunity to experience new cultures, understand different ways of working, develop crucial language skills and give them a global outlook.

The programme, which officially starts on 1 January 2014, will provide £11.8 billion (€14 billion) across the 33 participating countries. Across Europe more than 5 million people will benefit over the next 7 years.

Ruth Sinclair-Jones, Head of EU Programmes and National Agency Director at the British Council, said:

We are delighted to be working with our long-standing National Agency partners Ecorys UK to deliver Erasmus+. The programme represents a fantastic opportunity for UK participants, especially young people, to gain the valuable experience and skills that will help them prosper in today’s challenging economic climate.

Chris Walker, National Agency Director at Ecorys UK, said:

We look forward to continuing to support UK organisations in securing funding that can have a real impact on the skills and employability of participants. We would strongly encourage organisations to make the most of the opportunities available under Erasmus+.

Erasmus+ brings together a number of existing EU programmes including the Ecorys-managed Grundtvig, Leonardo and Transversal programmes and the British Council-managed Comenius, eTwinning, Erasmus and Youth in Action programmes. The Erasmus+ programme is expected to be approved by the European Parliament on 19 November 2013.

Notes to Editors

  1. This appointment is subject to final contractual agreements and approval by the European Commission.

  2. For more information about Erasmus+, see and

  3. Since 2007, the British Council and Ecorys have distributed funds of over €568,000,000 through the Erasmus, Comenius, Leonardo, Grundtvig, Transversal and Youth in Action programmes. The British Council has supported over 90,000 UK students through the Erasmus programme. Over 6,000 school partnerships have been formed under Comenius and eTwinning, enhancing teaching and learning and developing skills for over 100,000 teachers and around 2 million pupils in the UK. Over 40,000 participants, the majority young people, have taken part in vocational placements to enhance employability and gain work experience through the Leonardo programme. In the non-formal sector, Youth in Action has enabled 50,000 young people to take part in community-level projects with their counterparts in other countries, while 5,000 youth workers have made use of opportunities for professional development.

  4. The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. It has 7,000 staff in over 100 countries working with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes. For more information, please visit: You can also keep in touch with the British Council through and

  5. Ecorys provides 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, communications, public grant managed programmes and capacity building. For more information see and follow the LLP team on twitter and Wordpress

  6. The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set 4 ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.

Published 14 November 2013