Education, Training, Youth & Sport

Why is this topic a priority for the EU?

The EU has outlined a multitude of policies around education, training, youth and sport for the 2021-2027 budget period. Chief among these are the European Education Area, Digital Education Action Plan, the EU Youth Strategy and the EU Work Plan for Sport. Their shared objective is to effectively and swiftly prepare European citizens for the twin green and digital transitions while ensuring that no one is left behind. All of these policies have their own standalone initiatives to advance their goals, but the overarching EU programme that will progress many of their cross-sectoral priorities is Erasmus+. 

Erasmus+ is the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport for 2021-2027. Its main objectives are to provide support for lifelong learning, contribute to building a European Education Area, and promote learning mobility in education, training, youth, and sport. Through advancing these objectives, Erasmus+ aims to improve the quality of education and training systems, foster greater social cohesion and strengthen European identity and active citizenship.

The programme’s four key priorities for 2021-2027 are:

  1. Inclusion and diversity
  2. Digital transformation
  3. Environment and the fight against climate change
  4. Participation in democratic life

Its budget of €26.2 billion will fund projects for civil society organisations working in the fields of adult education, higher education, school education, vocational education and training, youth work and sport. In Ireland, Léargas and the Higher Education Authority (HEA) are the national agencies for Erasmus+. The HEA manages the higher education strand while Léargas manages the adult education, school education, vocational education and training and youth strands. The Erasmus+ Sport strand is managed centrally in Brussels. 


Relevant EU Policies and Objectives 

In addition to the various sectoral strands, Erasmus+ funding is also categorised by its three Key Actions. Each Key Action supports specific types of projects which in turn have their own target audiences and deadlines. 

Key Action 1: Learning Mobility for Individuals

This Key Action provides funding for learners, students, teachers, trainers and young people to travel to different EU countries to train, learn, study and/or exchange best practices with a host organisation. 

Types of projects supported include:

  • Accreditation for Higher Education Mobility Consortia
  • Accredited projects for mobility of learners and staff in adult education
  • Accredited projects for mobility of learners and staff in vocational education and training 
  • Accreditation in the Field of Youth
  • Mobility of higher education students and staff
  • Mobility of Young People (Youth Exchanges)
  • Mobility of Youth Workers
  • Short-term projects for mobility of learners and staff in adult education
  • Short-term projects for mobility of learners and staff in vocational education and training
  • Youth Participation Activities


Key Action 2: Cooperation Among Organisations and Institutions

This Key Action provides funding for organisations to engage in collaborative projects with partners in Europe in order to exchange ideas and produce tangible results or tools. 

Types of projects supported include:

Partnerships for Cooperation

  • Cooperation Partnerships
  • Small-scale Partnerships

Partnerships for Excellence

  • Centres of Vocational Excellence
  • Erasmus+ Teacher Academies
  • Erasmus Mundus Action

Partnerships for Innovation

Alliances for Innovation

Capacity Building in the Field of Youth

Not-for-profit European Sport Events

Key Action 3: Support to Policy Development and Cooperation

This Key Action provides support to policy cooperation at EU level and contributes to the development of new policies in the fields of education, training, youth, and sport. 

Types of projects supported include:

  • European Youth Together 

Civil society organisations can access all of these funding opportunities through calls for proposal throughout the 2021-2027 budget period. These calls are posted on the dedicated Erasmus+ application platform. Erasmus+ Sport calls, various Key Action 2 calls, and the Key Action 3 European Youth Together calls are published on the European Commission’s Funding and Tenders Portal.

You can find more information on the Erasmus+ programme and the specific types of projects it funds by reading the Programme Guide 2021 or by visiting the Léargas and Higher Education Authority EURIreland websites. 


Useful Links

Erasmus+ EU programme for education, training, youth and sport

Sport for community cohesion and social inclusion

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