Turing scheme
International students will get a chance to participate in the UK's latest exchange programme. Source: William Fortunato/Pexels

The official Turing scheme website has been launched, providing more insight into the UK’s multifaceted exchange programme announced back in December 2020. Although it is positioned as the Erasmus+ replacement following the UK’s withdrawal from the global exchange programme, the Turing scheme also promises to facilitate placement opportunities abroad for practical learners, schoolchildren, and less-privileged students. It is set to kick off in September 2021.

Here are the latest details on the Turing scheme, including the first suggestions of deadlines.

Who can participate?

British organisations across higher education, further education, vocational education, and schools who participate in the Turing scheme open the pathway for their students to pursue placements with partner organisations outside the UK. Funding is open to organisations in the UK and British Overseas Territories. They apply for funding to run the placement programme and support their students abroad. 

It’s not just limited to university courses — practical learners may pursue traineeships, while school pupils aged 14 and above can spend a term abroad. International students are welcome to apply too, as long as they attend a participating institution. Higher education placements will now run anywhere between four weeks to 12 months so more students may pursue the opportunity without the worry of long-term expenditure. 

The scheme also seeks to uplift students from disadvantaged backgrounds by providing additional financial support on top of meeting Erasmus+ grant rates. This group includes poor or estranged students, as well as refugees and asylum seekers. To this end, students could receive extra funding for travel expenses, including visas, passports, and health insurance.

Turing scheme

The UK wants to cover more students by offering travel funding and shorter placements in the Turing scheme exchange programme. Source: Justin Tallis/AFP

How to apply?

According to the official website, funded placements are set to begin in the 2021-22 academic year. Applicants can expect a helpline email to open mid-February, followed by Q&A webinars in March. The application form and programme guidance will also be released in March; you may then apply by filling out a form on the website. 

The bidding stage for UK organisations begins in March 2021. It will run for six weeks, with funding decisions expected in July. The website also noted: “If COVID-19 persists into Autumn 2021 and beyond we will consider funding alternative contingency arrangements.”

Why the Turing scheme?

As Emma Meredith, international director of the Association of Colleges told The PIE News, “The Turing scheme is a fresh initiative not only for colleges experienced in international exchange but also those new to global mobility. Colleges have a strong partner base in Europe through Erasmus+ and Turing paves the way for colleges to enhance their partnerships around the world.”

Chief executive David Hughes added, “International mobility motivates and inspires young people to understand their place in the world, develop their life skills and build confidence and ambition. I strongly encourage colleges new to international exchanges to consider participating in Turing and hope that those who have been involved before can use this to extend opportunities for students.”

The Turing scheme is developed as part of the UK’s International Education Strategy programme. It aims to host 600,000 international students by 2030, which will contribute towards its economic goal of 35 billion pounds. It will be administered by the British Council and Ecorys, which has been delivering Erasmus+ in the UK. 

Check out the Turing scheme website, sign up for the mailing list, and keep checking Study International for updates.