Light a Spark

Every great change always starts from a small step. Every one of us can play their part in promoting positive change across the world. Become the spark that lights change by starting your own project or join other interesting projects and/or programmes!

Erasmus +

Erasmus+ is the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe.

* This content has been created with the support of the Irish National Agency (Léargas).

Erasmus+ has many opportunities for non-formal learning and initiatives. It’s open for people aged 13 to 30, but also to youth workers, youth organisations, or any group that works directly with young people.

Youth organisations can receive funding to:

  • organise youth exchanges
  • support the professional development of  youth workers
  • strengthen the voice of young people through projects that connect them with local and European policymakers
  • build projects with like-minded organisations in other countries to exchange best practice and/or create innovative tools and methods for their field

What are the aims of Erasmus+ in Youth?

  • Increase the skills and competences of young people and youth workers
  • Support interaction between young people from different cultural backgrounds
  • Promote social inclusion and solidarity amongst young people
  • Empower young people to be active citizens and have a voice in decision making
  • Support young people to access the labour market
  • Develop quality improvements in youth work
  • Support the development of knowledge and evidence-based youth policy
  • Support the recognition of non-formal and informal learning
  • Strengthen the international dimension of youth activities.

The types of projects and activities that can be funded by Erasmus+ are called Key Actions (KAs). There are 3 KAs for Youth:


Key Action 1: Mobility of Individuals

Young people and youth workers have the opportunity to spend time abroad.  They can build their life experience, learn about different cultures, improve their language and other skills and increase their employability.

Types of projects possible:

  • Youth Exchanges: allow groups of young people from different countries to come together for up to 21 days for non-formal learning activities, supported by group leaders.
  • Youth Worker’s training and networking: supports the professional development of youth workers and the improvement of their youth work practice.  This includes seminars, training courses, study visits or job shadowing abroad in an organisation working in the youth field.


Key Action 2: Strategic Partnerships

Strategic Partnerships involve cooperation between organisations from different countries working in the VET field.

Types of projects possible:

  • Strategic Partnerships supporting Exchange of Good Practices:  allow VET organisations to expand their international networks, increase their capacity to work at a transnational level, and to exchange ideas, practices and methods with other organisations.
  • Strategic Partnerships supporting innovation: offer the chance to develop, test and transfer innovative products or methods.  To achieve these goals, projects may request grants for developing outputs, plus additional funding to promote the results
  • Transnational Youth Initiatives: groups of young people from different countries team up to set up and lead a project.  The project addresses an issue that matters to young people and where they want to make a change.

Projects can be six months to three years long.


Key Action 3: Support for policy reform

Young people at local, national and European level are supported to discuss, together with decision-makers, issues and policies that affect their lives.  Examples of decision-makers include civil servants, politicians and Ministers. Meetings between young people and decision-makers are called Structured Dialogue.  These types of meetings are aimed to empower young people to have their voices heard.

Projects can be three months to two years long.

European Solidarity Corps

New European Union initiative creating opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in projects in their own country or abroad that benefit communities and people around Europe.

* This content has been created with the support of the Irish National Agency (Léargas).

Young people can volunteer or work in European Solidarity Corps projects on a wide variety of topics ranging from youth work to environmental issues, arts, drama or culture.  Volunteering placements are full-time (30-38 hours per week) and can last two to twelve months, or from two weeks to two months in some cases. Traineeship placements involve full-time work practice with a learning and training element, and usually last two to six months. Volunteers and trainees receive funding for their expenses. Jobs must include a learning and training component and be based on a written employment contract. Jobs last from three to twelve months, and young people are paid by the employer.

You can register for the European Solidarity Corps when you are 17 years old, but you cannot start a project until you are over 18. European Solidarity Corps projects will be available to people up to the age of 30 years old.

After completing a simple registration process, European Solidarity Corps participants could be selected and invited to join a wide range of projects, such as helping to prevent natural disasters or rebuild afterwards, assisting in centres for asylum seekers, or addressing different social issues in communities.

Types of Activities in European Solidarity Corps

  1. Individual volunteering lets young people participate in the daily work of organisations and lasts between 2 and 12 months, and in some cases, 2 weeks and up. Participants can volunteer abroad or in their country of residence for projects covering social inclusion, environment, culture, and more.
  2. Volunteering teams are groups of 10-40 young people from at least two different countries who volunteer together for a period of between 2 weeks and 2 months. The costs of accommodation and food are covered. Participants also receive a small allowance for personal expenses.
  3. Traineeships count as full-time work practice and last between 2 and 6 months – renewable once. They are paid for by the organisation responsible for the traineeship. Trainees develop their personal, educational, social, civic and professional skills.
  4. Jobs are full-time and last between 3 and 12 months. They are paid for by the organisation employing the participant.
  5. Solidarity projects are initiated, developed and implemented over a period of 2 to 12 months by at least five young people who want to make a positive change in their local community. Young people who want to run a solidarity project in their country of residence must register in the European Solidarity Corps portal.

Available Funding in European Solidarity Corps

Volunteers receive funding for accommodation, food, travel, insurance and pocket money through their sending organisation. The sending organisation receives an organisational support budget also. For traineeship placements, travel costs, organisational support and a relocation allowance are normally paid. For those in an employment placement, there will always be a labour contract as well as a wage paid for by the organisation in accordance with local laws, regulations and collective agreements. All participants will receive a certificate detailing the actions they have taken through the European Solidarity Corps.

The new EU Youth Programme priorities

EU priorities to support the democratic process in a focussed approach for young people with ways to contribute to the shaping of a brighter future.

* This content has been created with the support of the Irish National Agency (Léargas).

Ensuring the inclusion and the encouragement of diversity, meaning a better reach for more participants especially those who tend to have fewer opportunities, addressing the barriers thrown up by disabilities, social and economic conditions and also geographical factors.

Investing in the digital skills of young people to enable advances to be made in fields such as clean energy, climate change, robotics, AI, data analysis, etc. to make sure that the youth contribution to sustainable development stimulates the economy and competency in these areas.

Moreover, the COVID-19 crisis highlighted the importance of digital education, the need for digital transformation, the significance of harnessing digital technologies for teaching and learning, and the demand for developing digital skills for all.

Increasing the knowledge and awareness of the democratic processes which underpin European identity and influence the world, engaging young people for democracy to flourish, recognising common values as well as diversity and the unity which is fostered through civic engagement.

Developing a broad consensus which puts the environment at the heart of design, implementation and results, which meet the needs of organisations and individuals so that the people, planet and economy can thrive.

You can find the same priority in European Solidarity Corps Programme Guide named: Environmental Protection, Sustainable Development and Climate Action.


Health promotion and support is one of five key European Solidary Corps priorities. The priority aims to support Europe in managing the impact of and recovery from Covid-19.

While health is an overarching priority in the new EU Youth Programme, it is addressed specifically just in the European Solidarity Corps Programme Guide.

Quality Mobility App

Use Quality Mobility App to create projects, assess their quality, co-create with your team members and learn from different resources to improve your project.

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Otlas – Partner Finding Tool

Do you want to find new contacts in the world, send a volunteer abroad or find the missing partner for your project? No matter where your interests lie, you will find what you are looking for in Otlas.

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European Youth Portal

Learn about topics of the EU Youth Strategy or find opportunities in education, employment, participation, culture, social inclusion, health, mobility and volunteering on European and national level.

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Contact your local Erasmus+ contact point to get busy!

To bring Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps as close as possible to the participants and make sure it works well across different countries, the EU works with National Agencies to manage the programme.

Contact your local National Agency (or a regional SALTO) to learn more about opportunities in your country, start your own project and see what trainings and programs are available. The National Agencies and regional SALTO Resource Centres are there for you to advise and support. The Erasmus+ contact points often also organise project writing trainings and help with mentorship.

Belgium (DE)
Belgium (FL)
Belgium (FR)
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Czech Republic
Lithuania (JTBA)
Lithuania (Erasmus+)
Republic of Kosovo
Republic of North Macedonia
Russian Federation
United Kingdom