Distinction and Diversity in Higher Education

Putting the + in Erasmus+

The Erasmus+ programme is open to HE students, staff and graduates, among others. Participation can enhance skill development and employability, and did you know that Erasmus+ offers funded opportunities not just to study in Europe, but also to work, volunteer, teach and train and these opportunities extend beyond the boundaries of Europe?

GuildHE and Erasmus+

GuildHE are looking to better understand how our members are using Erasmus+. This is so that we can support you in making the most out of your Erasmus Charter, or helping you get one if you would like to enjoy the opportunities Erasmus+ can offer your students and staff.

We have made a short survey (no more than ten minutes!), and we would be grateful if a member of your HEI responsible for internationalisation could fill it in. The deadline for the survey is the 28th February.

What is Erasmus+?

Erasmus+ is the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe. Its budget of €14.7 billion between 2014 and 2020 will provide opportunities for over 4 million Europeans to study, train, gain experience, and volunteer abroad. Within HE, it is best known for the opportunity it provides students to study abroad. In reality, the programme is much wider than that.

Erasmus+ is available to all students registered at UK higher education institutions (HEIs) even if that student is not a UK or EU national. Students can receive support and funding to study or do a traineeship. In fact, in the last 10 years, the number of students going on traineeships through Erasmus+ has more than quadrupled. Students are also able to undertake a traineeship the year after they graduate.

Participants even get funding for taking part. They currently receive between €280-€330 per month for study and €380-€430 a month for traineeships. There is also additional money for students with disabilities and an extra €100 per month for widening participation students.

The majority of funding is available to  go to EU countries, however HEIs can apply for funding to send their students around the world, to countries including  Australia, Brazil, China, Malaysia, the USA, Azerbaijan, Chile, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Russia, India and South Africa .

Students who are interested in post-graduate study can also apply for scholarships to study an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree.

Young people can do volunteer work (18-30) through  the E+ programme, taking part in a volunteering opportunity through Erasmus+. Funding is available for things such as travel, accommodation, food and insurance and may also provide a small monthly allowance.

Boosting employability skills

Research has shown that Erasmus boosts students’ employability skills. For example, did you know:

  • Half of former Erasmus students believe that their international experience had been among the important criteria for their employers to recruit them.
  • One third of employers confirm that international experience is among the important criteria in selecting among graduates. (From The Professional Value of Erasmus Mobility)
  • Graduates are half as likely to experience long-term unemployment compared with those who have not studied or trained abroad and, five years after graduation, their unemployment rate is 23% lower.
  • 92% of employers are looking for personality traits such as tolerance, confidence, problem-solving skills, curiosity, knowing one’s strengths/weaknesses, and decisiveness. Tests before and after exchange periods abroad reveal that Erasmus students show higher values for these personality traits; some showing an increase of 42%. (From the Erasmus Impact Study)
  • Graduates from more disadvantaged backgrounds who were mobile during their degree earned 6.1% more.
  • Black graduates who were mobile were 70% less likely to be unemployed.
  • Asian graduates who were mobile earned on average 8% more and were 71% less likely to be unemployed (7.7% compared to 4.5%) than their non-mobile peers. (From Gone International: Mobility Works)

Not just for students

Erasmus+ funding is also available to staff (both academic and non-academic staff to teach or train). This includes colleagues from businesses to come teach at HEIs and staff from HEIs to go train at businesses.

Grants are also available to support projects designed to develop and share innovative practices and promote cooperation, peer learning, and exchanges of experiences. For example, the Developing Enterprise and Employability during Mobilities (DEEM) project aims to develop an enterprise and employability curriculum, to enhance entrepreneurial skills and lead to sustainable employment.


Naquita Lewis
Erasmus+ Programme Lead – British Council

Cat Turhan
Policy Officer – GuildHE

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