40,000 students will be able to study and work abroad thanks to the government’s new Turing Scheme, with universities and schools due to be told this week that their bids for funding have been successful.
Over 120 universities, as well as schools and further education colleges across the UK, will be awarded grants from the £110m Turing Scheme – which will see 48% of places go to those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
As part of the new global scheme, Canada, Japan and the United States are amongst over 150 international destinations where UK students will be funded to take up work and study placements – alongside popular European countries like Germany and France.
At the heart of the Government’s post-Brexit vision is an ambition to create a truly Global Britain where we learn, work and trade with countries well beyond Europe’s frontiers. The Turing Scheme, which has replaced the UK’s participation in Erasmus+, gives young people the opportunity to benefit from working and studying abroad, while boosting our ties with international partners in the process.
The scheme also aims to improve social mobility across the UK by targeting areas which had seen lower uptake up of the Erasmus+ programme, including across the Midlands and North of England – with education providers in the West Midlands set to receive the most funding.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“The chance to work and learn in a country far from home is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – which broadens minds, sharpens skills and improves outcomes.
“But until now it has been an opportunity disproportionately enjoyed by those from the most privileged backgrounds. The Turing Scheme has welcomed a breadth of successful applications from schools and colleges across the country, reflecting our determination that the benefits of Global Britain are shared by all.
“By strengthening our partnerships with the finest institutions across the globe, the Turing Scheme delivers on the Government’s post-Brexit vision, and helps a new generation grasp opportunities beyond Europe’s borders.”
Ministers have set out a range of measures to improve access to international opportunities through the programme, including funding for travel and expenses such as passports and visas, as well as a grant for living costs, to tackle the barriers some students face to studying overseas.
Extra support has also been guaranteed for preparatory visits to make sure placements meet the needs of participants with disabilities and special educational needs.
Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said:
“Our schools, colleges and universities have worked tirelessly to make this programme a success, and I am grateful to them and their global partners who have truly embraced this opportunity for international collaboration.
“I look forward to seeing the innovation and expertise our students, pupils and vocational learners bring back to this country from their journeys to every corner of the globe – from Canada to Japan, and Australia to the United States.”
The total number of individual placements supported this year through the £110m scheme stands at over 40,000 – exceeding the Department for Education’s own estimates. This includes 28,000 placements for university students – compared with only 18,300 under Erasmus+ in the academic year 2018/9.
The Turing Scheme, announced by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson last year, is named after pioneering UK war hero and father of modern computing Alan Turing, who studied abroad at Princeton University before going on crack the Enigma code in World War Two.
Vivienne Stern, Director, Universities UK International, said:
“The Turing Scheme will create opportunities for thousands of students from all over the country to gain experience working and studying abroad. We know from the evidence we have collected that students who have such experience tend to do better academically and in employment outcomes – and that this is especially true for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“We want more students from a wider range of backgrounds to get these sorts of opportunities and believe, that if they do, the UK economy will benefit in the long run.”
David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges, said:
“The opportunity to work, study or compete abroad is so important for the life chances of all young people. It’s encouraging to see colleges taking up all that Turing can offer – including colleges that are newer to international partnerships – exploring exchanges across a broad range of countries.
“Student mobility will be crucial post-pandemic as the world reopens and learners from all backgrounds access their chance to develop technical and personal skills, build their confidence and experience other cultures.”
The Turing Scheme was announced in December last year, backed by £110m, to create opportunities for university students, learners in further education, and school pupils to study and work abroad. Universities, colleges and schools across the UK were invited to apply for the fund in March.
Matt Western MP, Labour’s Shadow Universities Minister, responding to Department for Education reports on students who will study abroad under the Turing Scheme from September, said:
“The Conservatives’ rhetoric on the Turing Scheme does not match the reality. Ministers are claiming to be targeting disadvantaged students, but their scheme provides no support to cover tuition fees which will make accessing this incredible opportunity impossible for many students.
“Boris Johnson has yet again created confusion for students and chaos for providers, by breaking his promise to keep the UK in the Erasmus+ programme. Subjecting the Turing Scheme to future spending decisions will create financial uncertainty for organisations and young people. It’s being reduced to the status of Erasmus minus.
“Ministers must ensure the Turing Scheme maintains the UK’s status as an attractive study destination for international students, protecting and promoting our global standing.”
Support for disadvantaged students and making opportunities more accessible
The scheme addresses the barriers that prevent some students from travelling abroad, including by providing financial support for those from disadvantaged backgrounds through a grant for living costs.
Funding will also be available for disadvantaged university students to support travel costs, as well as to cover extra expenses such as visas and passports.
Additional funding will be made available for preparatory visits to ensure placements are appropriate for participants with special educational needs and disabilities.
The minimum duration of a university placement has been reduced to 4 weeks (from 3 months under Erasmus+) to make going abroad more accessible to students with other commitments.
Based on applications from providers, the Department for Education expects 48% of participants to be from disadvantaged backgrounds
List of international destinations for Higher Education:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Canary Islands
- Cayman Islands
- Cook Islands
- Costa Rica
- Côte d’Ivoire
- Czech Republic
- Dominican Republic
- Falkland Islands
- Hong Kong
- Myanmar (Burma)
- New Caledonia
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- Sao Tome and Principe
- Saudi Arabia
- Sierra Leone
- Solomon Islands
- South Africa
- South Korea
- Sri Lanka
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and The Grenadines
- The Bahamas
- The Gambia
- The Occupied Palestinian Territories
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
- United States
Turing scheme to open up global study and work opportunities
12 March 2021: Schools, colleges and universities were able to apply for funding (from 12 March) to allow students to study and work across the globe as part of the new Turing Scheme, targeted at disadvantaged students.
The programme, backed by £110 million, replaces the Erasmus+ scheme in the UK and will fund 35,000 global exchanges from September 2021, including university study, school exchanges, and industry work placements.
The new scheme aims to improve social mobility, targeting students from disadvantaged backgrounds and areas which did not previously have many students benefiting from Erasmus+, making life-changing opportunities accessible to everyone across the country. The British Council and Ecorys will be targeting disadvantaged parts of the country to promote the scheme to improve take up.
The Turing scheme offers benefits to students that they would not have under the previous Erasmus+ programme, with university students from disadvantaged backgrounds set to receive a maximum of £490 per month towards living costs (currently worth around 573 euros compared to 540 euros under Erasmus+), alongside travel funding, and other forms of additional funding to offset the cost of passports, visas and insurance.
Unlike Erasmus+, which is EU-focused, the Turing Scheme is a truly global programme and every country in the world is eligible to partner with UK universities, schools and colleges.
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said:
The Turing Scheme is a truly global programme with every country in the world eligible to partner with UK universities, schools and colleges.
It is also levelling up in action, as the scheme seeks to help students of all income groups from across the country experience fantastic education opportunities in any country they choose.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
This is a landmark step in delivering on our promise to level up a truly global Britain, strengthening our ties across the world and providing students with the skills they need to thrive.
The programme’s focus on social mobility and value for money will open up more opportunities for international education and travel to all of our students, especially for those from disadvantaged backgrounds who were less likely to benefit from the previous EU scheme.
I urge all universities, schools and colleges from all corners of the UK to start their applications and partner up with countries worldwide.
Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan said:
The Turing scheme will support our levelling up agenda by opening up the world to young people and children from all backgrounds with exciting global opportunities.
The scheme will enable up to 35,000 students throughout the UK to work or study across the globe.
As part of the UK-wide launch, education ministers are visiting the devolved nations today to highlight the advantages of the Turing scheme and ensure wider participation for all students across the UK.
In support of the launch, Universities Minister Michelle Donelan will visit Cardiff University and Edinburgh University to discuss the bidding process including how to demonstrate widening access to more disadvantaged students as part of the application process.
School Standards Minister Nick Gibb and Apprenticeships Minister Gillian Keegan will visit educational settings in areas that have not previously benefitted from Erasmus+. Applicants from schools and colleges are encouraged, with funding levels and eligibility set out in programme guides available to help inform applications.
UK organisations are encouraged to form partnerships across the globe, not just the EU. The Turing website includes the programme guide, funding levels and eligibility, and details of webinars available to help inform applications.
Successful applications will receive funding for administering the scheme and students taking part will receive grants to help them with the costs of their international experience. The benefits of the exchanges will be assessed and the findings used to build on future schemes. Funding decisions for subsequent years will be subject to future spending reviews.
£110m of funding will be available to support projects and activities during the 2021/2022 academic year. This is enough to fund similar levels of student exchanges under the former Erasmus+ scheme.