Many of us find the world of Erasmus+ bewildering. The application document alone is more than thirty pages long. It covers everything from the goals of your project to describing your organisation and detailing how students, teachers and your school will benefit from the venture. There are abbreviations, such as PIC, which you might never have heard of. And what exactly is the difference between a receiving and intermediary organisation?!
The deadline for Call 2016 is the 2nd of February this year, which is just a bit more than a week away. It’s a frantic time for everyone involved in Erasmus+, especially teachers and coordinators, whose regular responsibilities often pose demanding challenges. So where can you get the much-needed country-specific support to structure a high quality application? Although you’re always welcome to ask us at ADC, there’s an answer closer to home: your National Agency.
With the big deadline edging closer, we spoke to Frederic Bayersburg, a Programme Officer for Erasmus+ VET at the National Agency in Austria. While studying Communications at university, Frederic became interested in international mobility and worked at the NA occasionally during his studies. Once he graduated, he applied for a full-time role and has now been working there for five years. We asked Frederic about the benefits of international mobility and his best piece of advice for this year’s applicants.
What is a regular day at the Austrian National Agency like?
It’s hard to describe a regular day at work, as the tasks are very diverse. We guide and advise potential applicants as well as project coordinators of ongoing Erasmus+ projects, organise seminars and conferences and attend National Agency meetings at European level.
What is the most interesting part of your job?
Travelling to other European countries and meeting colleagues from all over Europe is definitely one of the best parts of the job.
How does the National Agency support Austrian schools applying for Erasmus+?
We offer a lot of support for Austrian schools. We consult applicants in person, via phone or email and organise a number of seminars all over Austria, describing the whole process of a project cycle from application to finalisation. Before the application deadline, we also offer so-called ‘Final Checks’, where we analyse application drafts for possible improvements.
What is the most common question you receive from schools?
That is really difficult to answer. To sum it up, I would say: “What do we have to do to get funded?”
How do you think schools benefit from international mobility?
International mobility has benefits for everybody involved, for the sending and hosting institutions as well as for the individuals abroad. For schools, I’d say it's internationalisation in general; being an Erasmus+ awarded school may be an incentive for parents to choose it, and students and teachers who have been abroad can bring back new knowledge, skills and competences to their sending organisation.
What is the biggest challenge for schools applying to Erasmus+ in Austria?
I think the schools could answer this better. There is admittedly a considerable administrative burden, but the National Agencies are helping as best they can in that matter.
What is the biggest strength of Austrian schools in regards to international mobility?
A lot of schools in Austria are already very experienced with EU projects. The quality of applications is higher every year.
If you could give one piece of advice to the schools applying this year, what would it be?
Quality over quantity. It’s better to apply for, say, ten well-described mobilities, than for thirty mobilities, where the quality isn't apparent; especially for smaller institutions and/or first-time applicants. It has to make sense in the bigger picture.
Are you interested in Erasmus+ and how to apply for funding? ADC College organises Work Experience and Teacher Development projects for European schools in London. Send us a message or call us on +44 2084249424 for further information.