The UK government’s answer to the Erasmus+ program, the Turing Scheme, has officially begun accepting applications for the next academic year from organisations as of March 31.
The scheme, which was previously run by the British Council, is now to be administered by outsourcing company Capita, with the Association of Commonwealth Universities taking the helm as principal partner on assessment of applications.
Writing for The PIE, secretary general Joanna Newman said that the Turing Scheme has “immense potential to open up new horizons”.
“These international connections have never been more important,” Newman said.
“From the climate crisis to global recovery from Covid-19, international partnerships will be central to tackling the challenges that define our time – partnerships that often begin with these invaluable ties between people and places,” she continued.
The Turing Scheme took over from the Erasmus+ program when the UK pulled out of the European Union, and over £100 million of funding was approved in its first year – with over 40,000 students successfully applying to study abroad.
People were happy with the progress, with the international student mobility manager at Teesside University saying it was “delighted” with the outcomes and gave “life-changing” opportunities on international summer programs.
“These international connections have never been more important”
However, some bumps in the road materialised due to the pandemic, and some universities even told students that “international study options are unlikely to happen”.
In more recent development, there have been calls for funding of the scheme to be moved to a multi-year model, and that “improvements could create a more efficient program”.
More encouragingly, it was recently praised for the short-term mobility opportunities provided, such as the two-week visits – which there are now calls to make permanent – and its “weighting towards disadvantaged students”.
It began life under administration of the British Council, which then lost the contract after the government announced they would not be renewing its tenure – but the new agreement with Capita only lasts until December next year.
The application opening under Capita, and its principal application assessment partner ACU marks a new era, though, for the scheme.
“For students and learners, international mobility – the opportunity to study or work in another country – can be a transformative experience,” Newman writes.
“It’s an opportunity to sharpen their skills, expand their knowledge, and broaden their horizons by experiencing life in another country.
“We will be bringing decades of experience to our work with Capita as their principal partner – [it will open] up opportunities for young people to learn and train all over the world, and offers a new avenue for the UK education sector to strengthen partnerships with institutions across the globe,” she added.