The Turing Scheme: The new study abroad programme for UK learners

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We all know that the past years have been filled with questions about the effects of Brexit. From immigration to consumer goods and holidays, several aspects of our daily lives were likely to be affected. What does travel, trade, work, and study abroad look like after Brexit?

After news broke the UK was no longer going to participate in the Erasmus+ programme, thousands of students and researchers across the country worried about their chances to enrich their knowledge and life experience by spending time overseas.

The European Commission’s Erasmus+ annual report recorded that nearly 1 million people took part in the programme in 2019, confirming Erasmus’ growing popularity.

The UK government’s response to the needs of British students was the launch of a new programme to study and work abroad — the Turing Scheme.

On this page, readers will be able to learn about the Turing Scheme for UK nationals, including:

  • What the Turing Scheme is and when it will go live
  • Who can take part in the Turing Scheme
  • How to apply for the Turing Scheme and placements
  • Comparison between the Turing Scheme and the Erasmus+ programme

Whether you are thinking of going abroad to practice for your Spanish GCSE or French A levels or to complete a part of your postgraduate degree in a world-class lab, the Turing Scheme may be the right choice for your future.

What is the Turing Scheme?

The Turing Scheme is the UK’s government’s new mobility programme designed to help British students and young professionals spend time abroad to study, work, or volunteer.

Placements will be a great opportunity to broaden one’s horizons, make new friendships, and gain new skills to become more competitive in the job market. After all, the professional advantages of knowing a foreign language and having spent time abroad are well documented.

The Scheme is named after Adam Turing a world-renowned British mathematician who studied at Princeton University and worked abroad. He’s best known for his cryptography successes at Bletchley Park during WWII but he was also an expert in machines and biology. In fact, his Automatic Computer Engine was used to draft the basic principles of today’s personal computers.

Although the Turing Scheme is a UK government programme, the government confirms that it’s working closely with the Turing Trust to ensure that Turing’s legacy and principles are honoured by the Scheme.

Turing Scheme: Eligibility

If your organisation is part of the education or training sector, then it may be eligible to take part in the Turing Scheme. Specific eligibility requirements depend on the sector.

For example, higher education (HE) institutions must be registered in the UK or in a British overseas territory as an officially recognised higher education provider. To sign up for HE projects, students must be enrolled in HE and taking tuition or have graduated within the past 12 months.

Further education (FE), vocational educational training (VET), and school projects are also available within the Turing Scheme, each with its specific eligibility requirements.

Students, learners, apprentices, and professionals who are retraining or upskilling with educators and tutors in a recognised educational institution are eligible to apply.

It’s a good idea to ask your school or education provider about their available Turing Scheme projects, placements, and funding.

How to apply for the Turing Scheme

The application hasn’t been launched for the Turing Scheme yet. The government announced that it will publish application details in the programme guidance soon. Applications are expected to go live in March 2021.

However, keep in mind that schools and education providers apply for funding for projects on behalf of their pupils/students. This means that you will only be able to apply to take part in the projects available through your school/institution. You will be eligible whether you’re studying part-time or full-time.

If you think you may want to participate, get in touch with your school to check what placements and projects you may sign up for.

Turing Scheme countries

One big difference with the Erasmus programme is that the Turing Scheme is not limited to one continent, in fact, it aims at allowing participants to study and work across the globe.

The government hopes to forge new relationships and open up educational opportunities in countries and territories that were not available before. Get in touch with your school or education provider to learn about the projects and placements available to you.

Thinking of studying in Europe? Learn how you can prepare with our language classes.


When will the Turing Scheme start?

The Turing Scheme is expected to go live in the 2021-2022 academic year. Projects, including placements and exchanges, will start in September 2021.

Can I take part in the Turing Scheme?

If you are involved in education and/or training then yes, you probably can. Here are some examples of eligible individuals and organisations:

  • Current students
  • Recent graduates
  • FE and VTE learners, including apprentices
  • Individuals who are not in permanent education or training but are retraining or upskilling through a college or school
  • Educational and vocational organisations that meet the specific requirements for institutions

How long are Turing Scheme placements?

This will depend on the specific projects. Placements can vary between 2 weeks and 12 months. Learners with special educational needs and/or disabilities can decide to take a placement as short as 5 days should they prefer to.