Students will be able to study and work anywhere in the world with new post-Brexit scheme - how it works

By Claire Schofield
Friday, 12th March 2021, 1:18 pm
Updated Friday, 12th March 2021, 1:18 pm
The Turning scheme will fund global exchanges for about 35,000 UK students (Photo: Shutterstock)
The Turning scheme will fund global exchanges for about 35,000 UK students (Photo: Shutterstock)

Students will now be able to study and work anywhere in the world as part of a new exchange scheme being launched by the government.

The scheme will replace the Erasmus exchange programme now that the UK has left the European Union, and will allow for worldwide exchanges for universities, schools, colleges and work placements.

Applications for funding

From September, the £110 million Turning scheme will fund global exchanges for about 35,000 UK students, and will target disadvantaged students and those from under-represented areas.

The government claims the Turing scheme, named after Alan Turing, the English mathematician and computer scientist who died in 1954, offers benefits to students that they would not have previously had on the Erasmus+ programme.

University students from disadvantaged backgrounds will receive a maximum of up to £490 a month towards living costs, alongside travel funding and help with the money towards passports, visas and insurance.

Eligible schools, colleges and universities across the UK will be able to apply for funding for the scheme from this month, but funding decisions are not expected to be made until July.

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.

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 educational opportunities in any country they choose.”

Opening up opportunities

As part of the UK-wide launch, education ministers are visiting the devolved nations on Friday (12 March) to highlight the advantages of the scheme and ensure wider participation for all students across the UK.

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan will visit Cardiff University and Edinburgh University to discuss how to demonstrate widening access to more disadvantaged students as part of the application process.

Meanwhile, School Standards Minister Nick Gibb and Apprenticeships Minister Gillian Keegan will visit educational settings in areas that have not previously benefited from Erasmus+.

Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson said: “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.”

However, the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales want to continue using the EU’s Erasmus scheme beyond the end of the Brexit transition period, and the Scottish National Party (SNP) argued that the Turing scheme would leave Scottish students worse off.

In a statement, the SNP’s shadow education spokeswoman Carol Monaghan said: “It’s just the latest example of the long-term damage of Boris Johnson’s bad Brexit deal.

“The replacement scheme offers no tuition fees support – which can jump up astronomically.

“The Tory government has form in burdening students and young people with eye-watering debt, its Turing Scheme will simply add to that for Scottish students.

“Rather than ripping away rights from our young people, Boris Johnson should engage with the EU and seek to re-join the Erasmus scheme.”