Erasmus+ aims at boosting skills and employability, and modernising Education, Training and Youth work. The seven year programme will have a budget of €14.7 billion. This represents a 40% increase compared to current spending levels and shows the EU’s commitment to investing in these areas.
Erasmus+ will provide opportunities for over 4 million Europeans to study, train, gain work experience and volunteer abroad. In addition to providing grants for individuals, Erasmus+ will support transnational partnerships among Education, Training and Youth institutions and organisations to foster cooperation and bridge the worlds of Education and work in order to tackle the skills gaps we are facing in Europe. It will also support national efforts to modernise Education, Training and Youth systems. In the field of Sport, there will be support for grassroots projects and cross-border challenges such as combating match-fixing, doping, violence and racism.
Erasmus+ brings together seven existing EU programmes in the fields of Education, Training and Youth; it will for the first time provide support for Sport. As an integrated programme, Erasmus+ offers more opportunities for cooperation across the Education, Training, Youth, and Sport sectors and is easier to access than its predecessors, with simplified funding rules.
In order to reduce youth unemployment, the 2013 Annual Growth Survey recommended reducing early school-leaving, raising overall skills levels, increasing the performance of education and training systems, while linking the worlds of work and education and facilitating the transition from school of work through quality traineeships, apprenticeships and dual learning models – classroom based education combined with hands-on experience in the work place. It also highlighted the importance of entrepreneurial skills for young people, to enhance their employability and foster new business creation. Moreover, the wide range of transversal skills, which are needed to raise young people’s attainment in education and training and to prepare them for modern social and working life, can be further developed through out-of-school activities, in non-formal and informal learning settings.
Another challenge relates to the development of social capital among young people, the empowerment of young people and their ability to participate actively in society, in line with the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty to “encourage the participation of young people in democratic life in Europe.” This issue can also be targeted through non-formal learning activities, which aim to enhance the skills and competences of young people as well as their active citizenship. There is a need to provide youth organisations and youth workers with training and cooperation, to develop their professionalism and the European dimension of youth work.