Get funding to live and work abroad – the Erasmus+ Traineeship programme is a great opportunity to have an amazing experience and help you to stand out when you graduate. Five funded traineeship placements are available this summer. Eleanor Saunders from the Student Mobility team provides the details here.
What is an Erasmus+ Trainee Placement and where can I go?
An Erasmus+ Trainee Placement, or Erasmus+ Traineeship as it’s sometimes called, is basically about getting work experience with some funding from the Erasmus programme.
It covers all of the countries of the European Union including Britain (at the moment), Turkey, Norway and the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia. It also include the territories of European nations for example French Guyana, so theoretically you could go to the Caribbean, but whether the Erasmus stipend would cover your flight is different question.
So it’s about full time work experience in another country, over a minimum of two months. In the same way you might choose to do it in London or in the UK, you are doing it in Europe with a bit of funding.
How does it work?
What my office does, which is the Student Mobility Team (or the Erasmus Team), we basically supply the funding. So it’s your responsibility to go and find the work placement, in an organisation that you want to be with for a couple of months or longer and the rules of the scheme allow any kind of organisations across Europe.
There are very few limitations, for example, it can’t be a body that’s already funded by the EU, but there are very few organisations like that. So it can be any kind of employer, charity, for profit sector, education, health, anything you can think of.
Do I get help to search for employers to host my traineeship?
We have an existing list of careers websites covering lots of different countries in Europe. There are also a couple of websites that list programmes set up as Erasmus+ traineeships.
Also think about approaching lecturers in your department, your personal tutor, or someone you might know who knows different employers or different organisations in Europe.
Cast your search net wide and consider all avenues and contacts you can think of.
Apply conventional job hunting tactics to your approach. There are a lot of websites that are in English, so if you don’t speak another European language it doesn’t mean that you can’t take part. It might be a good idea to think that if you did GCSE French, you might want to look at France, because it will help you a little bit, but loads and loads and loads of employers work in English.
What kinds of placements have other students done?
There’s a fairly big range. We’ve had a big range of creative organisations which fits with the range of subjects that Goldsmiths offers.
You don’t have to have studied the same subject as the traineeship you do
From Anthropology we had someone who finished their master’s course and went to work on the Athens Biennale, so although he wasn’t an Art student or a Visual Cultures student he was interested in art.
The most unconventional one we’ve had so far is an Anthropology undergraduate who spent a couple of months on a theatre boat, travelling around and putting on a theatre production where they land. She contributed to a video diary of that experience so it fitted with the Anthropology department’s Visual Anthropology focus so she was documenting visually what was happening.
A few people have gone to teach in primary schools, secondary schools and summer programmes outside of formal education through the British Council’s Language Teaching Assistance Programme. You can also get the Erasmus stipend on top of that so you get the British Council’s pay and the Erasmus stipend.
Why should I think about doing one?
Firstly, you’re going to get work experience – a minimum of two months’ work experience and that’s a really good length of time I think. I’ve done placements myself in different organisations for a month and that was a good length of time, but twice that would be really great.
On top of that, it’s in a different country. So whether you’re a British student, a European student, wherever you’re from, experiencing a different country, a country you’ve never lived in before, is an amazing experience, but then to have worked in a different country, that’s an amazing thing to add to your CV and employers can see that makes you stand out amongst other people.
Do I need to speak the language of the country I want to go to?
Most people have found English language employers or they are doing something like English language teaching where you don’t really need to use the home country’s language that much, but there is language support through access to the Erasmus Programme’s Online Linguistic Support.
How will this experience help me in the future?
Probably about two thirds of students who have taken part so far have done their traineeship upon finishing their degree at Goldsmiths. At least two people that I am aware of that have got paid employment at the place they did their traineeship. So they have very directly got a job after doing the Erasmus+ Traineeship.
But even if you don’t get employment with that employer, you’re getting links in the country and getting an awareness of the job market in that country and you’ve learned in so many ways – things about yourself, where you want to work, what you want to do and where you want to do it.
How can I prepare before I go?
At the moment, the students (who have gone) are very independent and I think the majority of people who have gone have been people who have traveled before and have that experience. That doesn’t mean that you can’t do it if you haven’t. If you have never traveled before, I would definitely mention that or even if you’ve only been on holiday for a week maybe somewhere, it would be good to mention it when you apply and we can look at what we can do to support you.
How can I get the best out of my experience?
With any kind of work experience, don’t treat it like a 9 to 5. Speak to the people you are working with, you might make friends, and they might be able to give you tips on where a great place to eat might be or a nice bar or the local sports club, so that you really engage with the community where you are staying.
The Erasmus+ Traineeship is a HEAR recognised activity. If you complete the traineeship, you can get recognition for it on your HEAR.
The deadline to apply for Erasmus Traineeship is 13 March. Find out more and download an application form.