Embracing Erasmus+ to Enrich Lives and Open Minds

Image of person who wrote blog. The European Union’s Erasmus+ Programme is the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe. The 2021-2027 programme places a strong focus on social inclusion, the green and digital transitions, and promoting young people’s participation in democratic life. For the last five years, our Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) students at Errigal College have been availing of Erasmus and Erasmus+ opportunities to enhance their learning experience and in this blog, PLC and Erasmus+ Coordinator, Michelle Garry-O’Reilly tells us more about it.

At Errigal College, we believe in providing our students with diverse experiences crucial to their personal and professional growth. One particularly successful initiative that has been instrumental in broadening horizons for our Further Education and Training (FET) students is Erasmus+. As the PLC and Erasmus+ Coordinator, I am excited to share our incredible journey of embracing Erasmus+ and the enriching experiences it has brought to our Post Leaving Certificate learning community.

Erasmus+ combines all the EU’s current schemes for education, training, youth and sport. It fosters international collaboration and mobility, enabling our PLC students to engage in work experience abroad.

Exploring Student Mobility

We are deeply committed to enhancing the educational journey of our students and have witnessed firsthand the transformative impact of Erasmus+ on our students since our inaugural year in 2019. From the initial steps to the remarkable outcomes, our embrace of Erasmus+ has opened doors to a wealth of opportunities.

Group of people holding a flag.
2024 Erasmus+ group.

In practice, our Post Leaving Certificate students undertake internships in their preferred vocational areas (Animal Care, Art, Business, Construction Technology, Health Service Skills and Inclusive Education and Training) usually over a three-week period. We achieve this through a collaboration with our hosting partner, European Era located in Malaga, Spain. Their dedication to excellence and unwavering support play an invaluable role in our success.

Malaga, as a city, is a thriving economic centre with a vibrant youth culture. The feedback from our students each year has been very encouraging, as former Art, Craft and Design PLC student Danny Wilkinson noted:

“Being part of the Erasmus+ programme for PLC Art, Craft and Design in Malaga was amazing. I improved my art skills and gained work experience in a beautiful city. Learning from professionals there was eye-opening, and living in Malaga was unforgettable. This programme has really helped me grow as an artist, improved my confidence and prepared me for my future studies and career.”

Danny progressed onto a Level 8 course in Interior Design at ATU Galway.

Former Health Service Skills PLC student Reece Gillen who progressed into a Nursing (Adult) – BSc (Hons) degree at Ulster University also said of his Erasmus+ experience:

“The greatest choice I ever made was joining a PLC course focused on Health Service Skills, especially

Group of people holding a flag.
2024 Erasmus+ group in Granada.

participating in the Erasmus+ programme. It was truly remarkable. Erasmus+ specifically offered an invaluable chance to improve my confidence and skills, leaving a lasting impression on me personally and professionally.”

Current Animal Care PLC student, Patricia Masna who has just successfully completed her Student Mobility this year noted:

“Erasmus+ in Malaga was truly transformative. Collaborating with professionals, I’ve refined my skills and received a job offer in Malaga upon completion of my course. I’m excited to continue making a difference in animal care and grateful for Erasmus+ for paving the way.”

Key objectives of a student mobility programme are to augment their transversal skills, resilience, and participation. More detailed feedback from grades, supervisor reports, student reflections, work placement skills audits and other areas, highlights the acceleration of their general capabilities, further increasing their confidence, their personal, educational and professional growth and future employment opportunities.

Funding and the Future Roadmap

Group of people holding a flag.
2024 Erasmus+ group at Benalmadena – Seaworld.

Erasmus+ funds the short-term nature of these mobilities. Our application process is facilitated by Léargas, the national agency who carry out applications, implementation and support in coordination with the Department of Education and European Commission.

Recently Errigal College has been awarded Erasmus+ accreditation. We are delighted with this key milestone as it will allow a more long-term vision for our partnership with the programme on a regular basis. Award of the Erasmus+ accreditation confirms that we have set up an Erasmus+ Plan to implement high quality mobility activities as part of a wider effort to promote Donegal ETB’s values by encouraging inclusion, tolerance, and democracy. It also involves teaching about European heritage and diversity and helping participants connect across Europe.

Disseminating Success through Various Channels

One of our key strategies is transparently disseminating the success of our Erasmus+ activities. Through comprehensive reporting, website promotion and impactful student testimonials and social media coverage, we aim to not only share our achievements but also raise awareness about the transformative power of European and international experiences in education.


On reflection, it is evident that embracing Erasmus+ has not only enhanced our educational landscapeErasmus+ logo but has also created a pathway for students to explore, learn, and grow on a European scale. The programme’s emphasis is on international collaboration, cultural exchange, and experiential learning. It aligns perfectly with Donegal ETB’s educational goals.

We look forward to continuing this exciting adventure, and we invite you to join us in promoting the benefits of Erasmus+ at Errigal College. We have not only enriched the lives of our students but also strengthened the fabric of our educational community, fostering a spirit of curiosity, openness, and lifelong learning.

If you’re interested in applying for one of our PLC courses this Autumn, apply online here, using PLC in the keyword search.