Dickson frustrated with Economy Minister’s disinterest in the Erasmus programme

Economy Stewart Dickson

Alliance East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson has said he is frustrated after the Economy Minister showed “disinterest” in the continuation of the Erasmus programme for students in Northern Ireland.

Mr Dickson wrote to Diane Dodds to enquire about the continuation of the Erasmus programme in Northern Ireland. The EU initiative provides opportunities for students to study or gain work experience in a different European country while completing a degree. The Irish Government has said students can gain access to the scheme by temporarily registering with higher education institutions in the South.

However, the Economy Minister has now replied to Mr Dickson to state it would be up to local universities to promote any international mobility programmes that could benefit their students.

“The life experience Erasmus offers is invaluable and it is important such opportunities remain accessible to our young people,” said the East Antrim MLA.

“With Brexit having occurred, I enquired how the Minister would ensure continued participation in the programme for students in Northern Ireland. But once again, she has shown contempt for our student population.

“She has been slow to support them throughout the pandemic, continuing to deny many the support funds she has sanctioned, and has now expressed a complete lack of interest in ensuring they have access to the same opportunities as our European neighbours.”