Sheffield schools, colleges and higher education providers encouraged to apply for scheme that will offer ‘life-changing experiences’ for their students
Young Sheffield students and learners will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit destinations around the world to work and study, in a new scheme funded by the UK Government.
The Turing Scheme - which replaces the Erasmus scheme - provides funding for international opportunities in education and training across the world, and is open to UK and British Overseas Territories organisations in various sectors including higher education, further or vocational education and training, and school projects.
The aim is to help young people develop new skills, gain a better understanding of other cultures and boost their employability, while also contributing to a Global Britain, helping organisations to enhance international trade relationships around the world.
Rani Moorcroft MBE FRSA, who instigated ‘Turing passport to the world’, said: “Sheffield is a thriving community, a young community. The council is already looking at race disparities. All the component parts are there. Sheffield can be a leader - taking the lead in tackling some of the most difficult issues.”
She told how the pandemic has highlighted inequalities amongst young people in particular and how many have had their apprenticeships cancelled, leaving ‘a black hole’.
Rani explained: “There is a tsunami of young people who have been left disengaged with nothing to do.”
She believes giving young people ‘something to look forward to’ is important for their mental health as the country eases out of lockdown.
The £110 million project - named after renowned British scientist and mathematician, Alan Turing - will be an investment for the UK, boosting students’ skills and prospects, benefitting UK employers, whilst also encouraging fair trade to help the economy and local communities in partner countries.
Students will go on placements and exchanges starting in September 2021, and organisers are especially keen to attract less fortunate individuals and those from different ethnic backgrounds.
Young people may visit Commonwealth countries such as the Caribbean, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Jamaica, India, and Nigeria, where they may get involved with safaris, whale watching, planting mangroves, picking tea leaves, teaching English in schools, and exploring ESG (environment, social, governance programmes).
Through Rani’s own personal experiences and through the work she has done, she is aware of barriers that exist for young people, so has designed the scheme in a way she knows will be effective and create lasting change.
She said: “It is not about colonialism. It is about paying back mum and dad, soft power, and also encouraging trade between countries.”
Paying back mum and dad refers to the children - many of the Windrush generation - ‘paying back’ their parents for the sacrifices they made in moving to a different country and leaving them behind, ultimately to create a better future for them.
Rani is passionate about helping young people, and climate change, and described how the Turing scheme ‘encompasses everything we’re doing’.
She ensured that it is ‘not just a travel document’ for young people, but an exciting opportunity to get them out and to allow them to see solutions to world problems.
Zedgeneration, a community interest company founded by Rani and her husband David, encourages small communities to work together to create one global family and build a better future for generations.
It has partnered with Catalyst in Communities - a not for profit social enterprise which believes all sections of the community should have a voice and the right to have that voice heard - and Buildeco - a construction company working in partnership with councils and housing associations to provide innovative, modular flat-pack, eco-design based housing for for the built environment - to deliver ‘Turing passport to the world’.
Robin Lockhart FRSA, director of Catalyst in Communities and a Commonwealth Youth ambassador, said: “All new knowledge exists outside of our comfort zone and our job as Youth Coaches at Catalyst In Communities is to facilitate processes that stretch the comfort zone. International opportunities to travel and collaborate with others on work programmes in your host country take participants physically out of their ‘normal’ to placements with trusted partners that enable them to learn new skills very quickly and return to their homes feeling that they have grown!”
He believes talking to the people in communities directly, and empowering them is the success to creating transformative change, and his mantra is that “often the biggest problem people face is that they think they face a big problem.”
Audley English FRSA, founder of Buildeco and the UK’s first West Indian architect, added: “Post Covid means creating additional employment opportunities and a different way of working and living more sustainably. The norm will now be different here and around the world. Buildeco addresses these and more as we will build all types of sustainable housing within the UK and overseas. This will allow Governments the opportunities in investing in their own people and building a green economy for their own future that meets climate change targets.”
Buildeco’s flat pack, net zero, green homes aim to utilise local labour, drive down energy bills and lift fuel poverty, both within the UK and abroad, bringing like-minded people and organisations together, who will lead and encourage cultural changes within the industry.
He will be leading on the Turing scheme in Jamaica - a country with the sixth highest fuel bills in the world - where young people may be involved with contributing to change.
Through such activities, it is believed that poverty can be alleviated, and greener projects for fresh water, portable energy, drought and flood control can be established.
Applications for the Turing scheme must be submitted by April 21 for universities, and May 7 for colleges and schools.
For more information about the Turing scheme, visit here.
For more information about the partnering organisations, see: