Education meets overseas travel with the spirit of Eurovision

The above description represents how many young learners felt about the European Unions Erasmus program, and up until quite recently there was still a hint of youthful idealism about the scheme, albeit mixed with some essential life skills for the next generation.
More recently however, the newly branded Erasmus+ appears to have a more clearly defined strategic purpose. With youth unemployment throughout Europe at record levels, around 6 million young people out of work, it is one of the European Unions toughest challenges. It is probably no wonder then, that the budget for Erasmus+ has been increased by 40% in order to help fight youth unemployment. The main problem, according to some sources, is the fact that skills held by the young and unemployed do not match the jobs available. According to European Union sources, there are currently 2 million job vacancies within the EU where employers cannot find people with the right skills.
In countries where youth unemployment is low, such as Germany and Austria, there are vocational training places available for every young person who wants one. The new Erasmus+ scheme also includes apprenticeship exchanges.
Less is more
In my view there are far too many soft courses for students nowadays. Many University campuses have grow huge on the back of providing these soft degree courses such as media studies or humanities, while failing to equip graduates with the skills they require to become productive in the workplace. This is probably one reason why there are so many immigrants moving to the UK to do work that nobody else will do.
What we are failing to do is prepare the next generation for the harsh realities of life. There are only so many jobs available in the media at any one time, so why not limit the number of students studying such degrees and increase the places available for courses that teach transferable skills? We are also failing to equip students of all ages with skills in languages, an extremely transferable skill that could be useful in any sector.

Languages are the lifeblood of Europe, and as Language teachers we should be encouraging all students to learn at least one foreign language, and of course, English is the best!
You can find information about the Erasmus+ programme here:
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