Léargas to open €2.5 million EU fund to ‘build digital and creative readiness’ in hardest hit sectors

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– Applications welcome from schools, youth organisations, further education organisations, and adult education groups –

Supporting teachers to develop digital competencies, ensuring widespread access to digital learning,  and promoting social inclusion through the arts are just some of the ways a new €2.5 million fund will address the significant impact Covid-19 has had on the regular delivery of education and training and the cultural and creative sectors in Ireland.

Funded by the European Commission and managed in Ireland by Léargas, the two new Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships will support the recovery process from the Covid-19 pandemic, build digital and creative readiness, and ease the impact of the crisis on some of the hardest-hit sectors.

As the Irish agency for international exchange projects including Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps, Léargas has postponed or adapted much of its 2020 programme of education, training, youth and volunteering projects to run virtually in light of the Covid-19 crisis. 

Lorraine Gilligan, Executive Director at Léargas, welcomed these measures to foster creativity, culture and multiculturalism at a time when learners, both young and old, may feel that opportunities are more limited:  “In a way, 2020 has been the antithesis to what Léargas promotes – we create opportunities for people to cross borders and come together, the very thing we’re all being asked not to do in line with public health measures.  We have faced new challenges but our team, and the incredible organisations we work with across Ireland, have found creative and innovative ways to adapt and to share their learning with others here and across Europe.

“While the physical element of travel and exchange may not be as accessible as it once was, with the support of this new EU fund, Irish organisations which provide educational, artistic or creative initiatives can continue to bring us all closer together.

“We know that challenges, such as those presented by this crisis, hit some communities harder than others – for those experiencing digital poverty or who lack the tools or skills to join the virtual world where so much is happening this year, this fund will provide a lifeline.  Arts and education organisations will be able to support learners and teachers to continue connecting, creating and collaborating at a time when we need that engagement and exchange most.”

Léargas has announced online workshops and webinars to support organisations to develop their project ideas for the Strategic Partnerships in Digital Education Readiness and Creativity. 

Ms Gilligan continued, “As with all our programmes, our team is here to support organisations from across the school, vocational and adult education sectors and youth groups to make the most of the opportunities available.”

The Strategic Partnership for Digital Education Readiness will make funding available to schools and vocational education organisations to support learners, teachers and trainers adapt to online or distance learning through digital tools and methods. There will also be a focus on promoting safer and more responsible use of digital technology in a new virtual learning environment.

The Strategic Partnership for Creativity will support adult and school education or youth organisations to equip young people and adults to develop creative and innovation solutions to unprecedented risks and societal issues.  Organisations will be supported to promote active citizenship through the arts and to reinforce virtual networks and collaboration models that support intercultural exchange and engagement.

For more information on the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships, visit https://www.leargas.ie/news/e2-5-million-available-digital-education-creativity-projects/. The deadline for applications is 11.00 am Irish time on Thursday 29 October 2020.

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