Boris Johnson’s Turing Scheme will allow more than 40,000 students to study and work abroad when it launches next month. Named after wartime codebreaker Alan Turing, it will be open to more than 120 universities as well as over 200 schools and further education (FE) colleges across the UK.
Its £110million annual purse will fund successful applicants to live and study in around 150 destinations including Canada, Japan and the United States.
Just under half of the places on the scheme are expected to go to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, according to the Department for Education (DfE).
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “The chance to work and learn in a country far from home is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – which broadens minds, sharpens skills and improves outcomes.
“Until now it has been an opportunity disproportionately enjoyed by those from the most privileged backgrounds.
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This means that the West Midlands will head the list – as the Tories seek to honour their campaign pledge to level-up the economy.
The scheme provides financial support for those from disadvantaged backgrounds through a grant for living costs to address the barriers that prevent some students from travelling abroad.
Funding will also be available for disadvantaged university students to support travel costs, as well as to cover extra expenses such as visas and passports.
Universities, colleges and schools across the UK were invited to apply for the fund in March.
The total number of individual placements supported this year through the scheme is more than 40,000 – which includes 28,000 placements for university students.
Vivienne Stern, director of Universities UK International, said: “We know from the evidence we have collected that students who have such experience tend to do better academically and in employment outcomes – and that this is especially true for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“We want more students from a wider range of backgrounds to get these sorts of opportunities and believe, that if they do, the UK economy will benefit in the long run.”
Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said: “Our schools, colleges and universities have worked tirelessly to make this programme a success and I am grateful to them and their global partners who have truly embraced this opportunity for international collaboration.
“I look forward to seeing the innovation and expertise our students, pupils and vocational learners bring back to this country from their journeys to every corner of the globe – from Canada to Japan, and Australia to the United States.”