Gavin Williamson, Education Secretary

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.

Sector Reaction 

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:

  1. Algeria
  2. Antigua and Barbuda
  3. Argentina
  4. Armenia
  5. Australia
  6. Austria
  7. Azerbaijan
  8. Bahrain
  9. Bangladesh
  10. Barbados
  11. Belgium
  12. Belize
  13. Bermuda
  14. Bhutan
  15. Bolivia
  16. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  17. Botswana
  18. Brazil
  19. Brunei
  20. Bulgaria
  21. Cambodia
  22. Cameroon
  23. Canada
  24. Canary Islands
  25. Cayman Islands
  26. Chile
  27. China
  28. Colombia
  29. Cook Islands
  30. Costa Rica
  31. Côte d’Ivoire
  32. Croatia
  33. Cuba
  34. Cyprus
  35. Czech Republic
  36. Denmark
  37. Dominica
  38. Dominican Republic
  39. Ecuador
  40. Egypt
  41. Estonia
  42. Eswatini
  43. Ethiopia
  44. Falkland Islands
  45. Fiji
  46. Finland
  47. France
  48. Georgia
  49. Germany
  50. Ghana
  51. Greece
  52. Guyana
  53. Honduras
  54. Hong Kong
  55. Hungary
  56. Iceland
  57. India
  58. Indonesia
  59. Iran
  60. Iraq
  61. Ireland
  62. Israel
  63. Italy
  64. Jamaica
  65. Japan
  66. Jordan
  67. Kazakhstan
  68. Kenya
  69. Kosovo
  70. Kuwait
  71. Laos
  72. Latvia
  73. Lebanon
  74. Liechtenstein
  75. Lithuania
  76. Luxembourg
  77. Macao
  78. Madagascar
  79. Malawi
  80. Malaysia
  81. Malta
  82. Martinique
  83. Mauritius
  84. Mexico
  85. Moldova
  86. Mongolia
  87. Morocco
  88. Mozambique
  89. Myanmar (Burma)
  90. Namibia
  91. Nepal
  92. Netherlands
  93. New Caledonia
  94. New Zealand
  95. Nicaragua
  96. Nigeria
  97. North Macedonia
  98. Norway
  99. Oman
  100. Pakistan
  101. Panama
  102. Paraguay
  103. Peru
  104. Philippines
  105. Poland
  106. Portugal
  107. Qatar
  108. Romania
  109. Russia
  110. Rwanda
  111. Samoa
  112. Sao Tome and Principe
  113. Saudi Arabia
  114. Senegal
  115. Serbia
  116. Seychelles
  117. Sierra Leone
  118. Singapore
  119. Slovakia
  120. Slovenia
  121. Solomon Islands
  122. South Africa
  123. South Korea
  124. Spain
  125. Sri Lanka
  126. St Kitts and Nevis
  127. St Lucia
  128. St Vincent and The Grenadines
  129. Sudan
  130. Sweden
  131. Switzerland
  132. Taiwan
  133. Tanzania
  134. Thailand
  135. The Bahamas
  136. The Gambia
  137. The Occupied Palestinian Territories
  138. Tonga
  139. Trinidad and Tobago
  140. Tunisia
  141. Turkey
  142. Uganda
  143. Ukraine
  144. United Arab Emirates
  145. United States
  146. Uruguay
  147. Uzbekistan
  148. Vanuatu
  149. Venezuela
  150. Vietnam
  151. Zambia
  152. Zimbabwe

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.

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