The Erasmus Impact Study and its effects on the young

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AUTHOR: Maria Hoff Rudhult

The Erasmus Impact Study was conducted by the European Commission and published on 22nd September of this year. The study takes a look at the Erasmus programme, which was established in 1987, to give the opportunity to all Europeans to go abroad and gain life long experiences. The Erasmus programme was also thought of as a way to foster innovation and knowledge in Europe as part of the European Union’s Lifelong Learning Programme.

The Erasmus Impact Study was conducted to look at the Erasmus exchange mobility’s relation to employability, the development of individual skills and institutional development. It was carried out among 78 891 respondents including students and alumni with and without Erasmus experience as well as higher education institutions and employers across the 34 countries participating in the programme.

As a result of the financial crisis, European countries are struggling with high and persistent unemployment. The economic crisis severely hit the young and the youth unemployment rate peaked in the first quarter of 2013 reaching 23.6%, before decreasing to about 21.6% in September this year[1]. According to the report, higher education, research and innovation play a crucial role in creating job opportunities. But what has this got to do with the Erasmus exchange programme?

The Erasmus Impact Study confirms that «Erasmus students are in better position to find their first job and to enhance their career development» and that the unemployment rates five years after graduation are 23% lower for participants in the Erasmus exchange programme.

The report also reveals that people with experiences of studying abroad is less likely to experience long-term unemployment. Graduates with an international background are also more frequently given greater responsibility and 77% of the Erasmus alumni in the study are in position with leadership components ten years after graduation.

Moreover, it seems like participants in the Erasmus programme are 44% more likely to hold managerial positions than non-Erasmus alumni. This is, according to the report, due to the fact that mobile students gain experiences that develop so-called transversal skills, which are increasingly valued by European employers. Adaptability to new cultures, openness to new experiences, self-confidence, awareness of ones strengths and weaknesses, decisiveness and vigour are especially highlighted. In fact, on average 92% of employers are looking for transversal skills on top of relevant knowledge in the field of work.

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