Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris has announced the allocation of €2 million in mobility funding for higher education students in Northern Ireland.
The funding, announced at the end of last month, will enable students in Northern Ireland to access mobilities and internships across Europe.
Following the announcement Minister Harris said: “We know that students’ higher education experiences are enriched by undertaking a mobility in another country. It is not just about learning in a partner university – it is also about building relationships with other students, and increasing cultural awareness and understanding”.
“During my many engagements in Northern Ireland, including with the universities’ Vice-Chancellors, the loss of access to Erasmus+ Programme was constantly being raised. I understand that,” he continued.
Harris noted that the funding would also play a role in supporting the all-island economy.
“Many students in Northern Ireland choose to pursue internships in Ireland in key employment sectors such as financial services and technology. This experience is vital, and aligns skills development with the island economy,” he said.
“This is a permanent commitment, and will be in place for as long as students in Northern Ireland wish to avail of this option or an alternative mobility model emerges,” Harris added.
The figure allocated, of €2 million per year, is based on the current numbers of students in Northern Ireland accessing Erasmus.
The funding follows a commitment made by the Irish government in 2020, to ensure that students in Northern Ireland maintain Erasmus+ access following Brexit. European Union funding for the Erasmus+ programme in Northern Ireland ended in May of this year.