Thousands of young people, learners and staff from across Wales are preparing to visit countries all over the world for enriching educational experiences thanks to funding from an innovative international exchange programme.
More than £10 million has been awarded by the Taith programme to organisations across all areas of learning throughout Wales, with some of the first mobilities starting to take place. Forty-six organisations from all local authorities in Wales were successful in their applications.
The first round of Taith ‘Pathway 1’ funding will see more than 6,000 people take part in learning exchanges – including inward and outward mobilities – which aims to broaden horizons, expand skills, bring benefits to communities and organisations here in Wales, as well as take Welsh culture to the world.
Visits will take place in around 95 countries across the globe including New Zealand, Colombia, Bangladesh, Canada, Italy and Belgium, with participants taking part in activities and projects designed to meet clear learning outcomes.
Susana Galván, Executive Director of Taith, said: “International mobilities have been shown to have hugely positive impacts on participants’ personal and professional experiences, enabling them to develop not just new skills but also new perspectives and new friendships. We would also like every individual who has benefited from the opportunities given by the Taith programme to become ambassadors for Wales, carrying the message to the world that Wales is outward-looking, collaborative, and open to international connections and educational innovation.
“We are excited for the first cohorts of Taith-funded mobilities to get started and very much look forward to following our participants’ journeys as they embark on the experience of a lifetime as they share learning, experience and learn about different cultures and develop new skills.”
The Taith programme is supported by a long-term investment from the Welsh Government of £65 million. It is hoped that by 2026 some 15,000 participants from Wales will go on overseas mobility exchanges, with 10,000 participants coming to learn, volunteer or work in Wales.
Taith recently launched its latest round of funding, ‘Pathway 2’, focusing on Welsh-led international partnerships developing project outputs which address a specific issue or sector priority.
Minister for Education and Welsh Language Jeremy Miles said: “I am delighted to see the high levels of interest and in particular the demand from youth and adult education which exceeded even Erasmus+ – and I’m keen to build on this success in the years to come.
“By working in partnership with the education sector in Wales, we have built an innovative programme offering life-changing experiences for learners and staff right across Wales and internationally. It is vital, now more than ever, that Wales is seen as an outward-looking and international nation where learners and staff from across the world can enrich our education system and also experience our unique culture.
“Just this week I have been discussing with Brussels MEPs how Taith can help open even more opportunities internationally.”
Paul Glaze, is Chief Executive for CWVYS, the lead partner in the Taith Youth Sector Organising Body consortium which also includes the Welsh Centre for International Affairs and Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of Wales. “The first round of Pathway 1 resulted in 20 applications from the youth sector (out of an all-sector total of 70 bids); 13 of which were successful. It is great to see this funding reaching groups who might not have traditionally thought they were eligible for these sorts of life-changing opportunities; over the next few months we have a small Welsh-speaking choir travelling to Rome, and a group of young people from Urdd Gobaith Cymru going out to New Zealand.”
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