In the coming months the Erasmus team of the British Council Wales will significantly grow its headcount from 6 FTE to more than 50 FTE. The expansion follows from the British Council’s extended responsibility to manage the Erasmus+ programme, and the decision to base its operations in Cardiff.
Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission (EC) that aims at increasing the skills and employability of young people, and modernising education, vocational training, and youth work in Europe. This new programme started on 1 January 2014 and replaced former EC funding programmes in the field of education, training, youth and sport, such as the Lifelong Learning Programme (Erasmus, Comenius, Leonardo, Grundtvig and Transversal), Youth in Action and other international programmes.
As part of the programme, the European Union will grow its funding with 40%, increasing the budget to £12 billion. In the UK, almost £778 million will be provided between 2014 and 2020 to help UK students gain international experience and skills. It is expected that almost 30,000 young people per year will receive grants in the UK, which is an increase of 50% compared to EU’s previous Lifelong Learning and Youth in Action programmes.
Ecorys and the British Council
Last year in November, it was announced that the British Council, UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations, together with consulting firm Ecorys UK won the contract to deliver the Erasmus+ programme in the UK. As part of the programme, UK organisations focussed on education, training, youth and sport will work closely with partners in Europe and beyond to help students and young people to study, train or volunteer abroad. The partnership between Ecorys and the British Council will assist the EC and (local) UK governments with the day-to-day work with leading, executing and monitoring the programmes.
The headquarters of the programme will be based in Cardiff, Wales. “It’s a real vote of confidence in Cardiff to have the city chosen as our Erasmus+ hub,” says Jenny Scott, Director of British Council Wales. To run the training programme a significant increase in headcount is needed, as the original Erasmus team in Cardiff consisted of just six people. More than 50 new jobs will be created in grant delivery and management, customer service, finance, events and marketing. The recruitment of the additional staff is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Commenting on the new jobs, Ruth Sinclair-Jones, Director of the UK National Agency for Erasmus+ at the British Council, says: “Erasmus+ offers a significant opportunity for people in Wales and across the UK to benefit from study, training, volunteering and professional development across Europe. It also offers a range of exciting job opportunities in British Council Wales.”