South East MEP Catherine Bearder has urged local apprentices and students to take advantage of EU exchange programmes that allow them to study or train abroad.
Figures released this week show 7700 students from universities in the South East have benefitted from EU grants to study overseas since 2007, including 2400 who went on work placements. In total almost 74,000 students from the UK benefitted from EU study abroad programmes between 2007 and 2013.
Today the European Parliament voted to expand the EU's exchange abroad programmes and place a greater emphasis on vocational education. The proposals would see more funding spent on giving school leavers and young unemployed people the chance to do work placements abroad.
The EU's new Erasmus+ programme will see stronger links established between local colleges and companies in Europe to create more opportunities to do vocational training abroad. Traineeships last between one month to a year, with travel costs paid for and a small subsistence allowance provided to pay for food and accommodation.
Catherine Bearder recently visited a school in Southampton to discuss the opportunities provided by the UK's membership of the EU.
"Being in Europe provides so many opportunities for young people. Hundreds/thousands of local students have benefitted from the chance to go abroad, learn a new language and expand their horizons.
"This opportunity shouldn't be limited to university students, it must be open to all.
"I'm urging all young people in the South East to take advantage of EU programmes that allow them to study or train abroad.
"Going on a work placement overseas could help young people develop vital skills and stand out to future employers.
"This is another example of why being in the EU means more opportunity and prosperity for future generations."