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Record numbers of UK students are choosing to work or study in Europe through an EU-funded programme, according to new figures from cultural relation body the British Council.
The number of UK students taking part in the Erasmus programme has risen by 6.5% since 2010/11.
In the last academic year, 2011/12, UK students undertook 13,668 periods of study or work-placement, the highest number since the programme was launched in 1987.
The Erasmus programme aims to encourage integration between citizens of European Union member states. For many years there was persistent decline in the numbers of UK students entering Erasmus, but the 2011/12 academic year marks the sixth successive annual increase in UK participation rates.
The British Council has been the UK’s national agency for administering the Erasmus programme since 2007.
David Hibler, Erasmus programme manager for the British Council, said: ”This is a fantastic achievement for the programme, for higher education institutions and UK students.
“UK and international employers are increasingly telling us that they value graduates with the sort of skills and experience that Erasmus can give.
“Taking part in Erasmus is a life-changing experience which can have a positive effect on students’ long-term career prospects.”
Mr Hibler added: “Not only does the programme provide financial assistance for students but the experience helps them to get better degrees and to stand out in the job market.”
The 2011/12 participation numbers could also provide a long-term boost to the British economy, according to a recent survey conducted for the British Council by Populus. The survey found that 34% UK adults who had not lived or studied abroad for 6 months or more believe their career prospects would have been improved if they had.
Posted by Keith Broomer
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