We have been successfully working with EU funded projects for over 9 years, bringing students and professionals to Plymouth for training and unpaid work experience placements. With all the heated discussions over Britain’s membership with the EU, we wanted to briefly tell you how our local Plymouth Community is benefiting from the work that we do thanks to the EU funding and open borders.
What is Erasmus Plus?
Erasmus Plus was launched in 2014 as a replacement to other existing funding schemes for education, training, youth and sports. With an injection of over 14.7 billion Euro this catch-all framework program supports development, helps to prevent unemployment, and promotes education and healthy lifestyles. Funded by European Commissions, Erasmus Plus enables young people to take part in student exchanges and work experience placements abroad, it also allows teachers and professionals to attend training sessions and take part in study visits abroad, it promotes multicultural and multinational youth gatherings to broaden horizons, supports partnership projects between schools, Universities and NGOs, helps youth organisations, promotes volunteering and initiatives for policy innovation.
What does this mean in reality for Plymouth?
It means that thousands of overseas visitors come through our organisation each year providing a positive impact on the local economy which has been quite substantial over the years. As a company we receive all of our income from international partners who pay for the services by accessing EU funding or, accessing other regional grants supported by their local authorities. We have also had some partners pay privately in the past two years. All of these funds we acquire are then filtered out to our service providers here in Plymouth. Apart from giving employment to our staff we also inject the money into Plymouth’s economy in other direct and indirect ways:
We offer ‘home stay’ accommodation to all of our International Students. This gives local families an opportunity to boost their income each month and offers a very flexible solution to filling their spare bedroom. Erasmus Plus Students can stay in Plymouth for a period of anything from 2 weeks to nearly a year, but the most commonly requested is period from 2 – 12 weeks which is much less committing than having a lodger. Many local families have already registered with us as accommodation providers and we are always seeking more, so if you feel that this is something you would like to pursue, follow this link.
SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESSES
The most obvious financial benefit of attracting international students is the fact that they spend their allowance in local restaurants & cafes, pay for public transport and visit popular tourist attractions. We give our students as much information as possible on what’s available in Plymouth and on events worth attending. As a host, we also frequently offer organised social evenings for which we team up with local bars, cafe’s, tour guides, and entertainment centres.
We use local companies to provide airport transfers for our students and arrange transport for our popular cultural trips, keeping the money in local community. We often book B&B accommodation for the teachers and professionals arriving to Plymouth either to visit their students or to take part in a study visit or a training course. We work with trusted Plymouth B&B owners who offer good quality accommodation and make our clients feel welcome and comfortable. When organising training courses we hire local business owners and specialists to deliver speeches on their specialist subject matter, this also helps them to promote what they do and to open up international links with organisations similar to theirs.
HELPING BUSINESSES GROW
We know how difficult it can be for a small business to take a step forward and grow, especially at the early stages when they cannot afford committing to increasing staff numbers. Every year, we link hundreds of Erasmus Plus students with companies which would benefit greatly from their help. Taking on an unpaid Erasmus Plus intern has helped many of local sole traders and small businesses. We have seen these companies grow as a result, open international links and be brought to the digital era without spending the money they simply did not have. It’s a mutually beneficial partnership as our students really appreciate the opportunity to work in their area of studies and are very grateful to the host companies for sharing their knowledge and expertise with them.
PROMOTING PLYMOUTH INTERNATIONALLY
We strongly believe that the international links opened up thanks to Erasmus Plus have certainly put Plymouth on the map. Not only our project partners are in awe of the breathtaking views that our coastal location offers, but they also compliment on the city’s growing business community, educational and training opportunities, diverse social enterprises and tourist attractions including the nearby National Trust properties. Very often, our student’s stay in Plymouth is promoted in their own Countries through their local press abroad, Universities and school’s websites and social media platforms making Plymouth one of their favourite UK destinations. They promote this city among their friends and family and encourage others to visit. Some partners have even returned bringing their families to Plymouth. We are proud of Plymouth and want others to see that it’s not only a beautiful location but also a city full of opportunities. Many of our partners now prefer to come to the South West region rather than going to London.
These are of course only a few of ways in which working with EU funded projects benefits our local area. We must not forget that Erasmus Plus also allows British students, schools, universities, youth centres and companies to participate in various activities which open another treasure trove of opportunities benefiting our community long term. Erasmus Internships are a fantastic opportunity to enhance your CV, make it stand out and gain invaluable experience of living and working in another culture.