Turing Scheme: how the new UK substitute for Erasmus scheme works - and where students can study abroad

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The scheme allow UK students to take up work and study placements at around 150 destinations across the world

More than 40,000 UK students will be able to study and work abroad from September as part of a new exchange scheme.

The Turing Scheme will be introduced as the government’s post-Brexit replacement of the Europe-wide Erasmus exchange programme.

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Work and study placements will be available at around 150 destinations across the world (Photo: Shutterstock)Work and study placements will be available at around 150 destinations across the world (Photo: Shutterstock)
Work and study placements will be available at around 150 destinations across the world (Photo: Shutterstock)

How does the Turing Scheme work?

The £110 million Turing Scheme will award grants to more than 120 universities, and over 200 schools and further education colleges across the UK.

Education providers in the West Midlands will receive the most funding from the scheme, as the the Department for Education (DfE) has tried to target areas of the country which have historically seen lower uptake of Erasmus.

The new scheme has a wider geographical scope than the previous study abroad programme, providing UK students with the opportunity to take up work and study placements at around 150 destinations across the world.

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The locations available include Canada, Japan, the United States, and a number of European countries.

The minimum duration of a university placement has also been reduced from three months to four weeks under the new scheme, the DfE said.

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The scheme will provide financial support for students from disadvantaged backgrounds through a grant for living costs to address the barriers that prevent many from travelling abroad.

Funding will also be available for disadvantaged university students to support travel costs, as well as to cover additional expenses, such as visas and passports.

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It is expected that less than half (48 per cent) of places on the scheme will go to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, according to the DfE.

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.

“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.

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“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.”

However, Matt Western, Labour’s shadow universities minister, criticised the scheme for failing to cover tuition fees.

He 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.”

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40,000 placements

Eligible universities, colleges and schools across the UK were invited to apply for the scheme back in March, with funding decisions being made in the summer.

The total number of individual placements supported this year through the scheme exceeds 40,000, and includes 28,000 placements for university students.

Vivienne Stern, director of Universities UK (UUK) 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.

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“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.”

More information about the scheme is available on the government website.

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