Léargas to open €2.5 million EU fund to ‘build digital and creative readiness’ in hardest hit sectors

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 Applications welcome from schools, youth organisations, further
education organisations, and adult education groups –

Supporting teachers to develop digital competencies, ensuring
widespread access to digital learning,  and promoting social inclusion
through the arts are just some of the ways a new €2.5 million fund
will address the significant impact Covid-19 has had on the regular
delivery of education and training and the cultural and creative
sectors in Ireland.

Funded by the European Commission and managed in Ireland by Léargas,
the two new Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships will support the recovery
process from the Covid-19 pandemic, build digital and creative
readiness, and ease the impact of the crisis on some of the
hardest-hit sectors.

As the Irish agency for international exchange projects including
Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps, Léargas has postponed or
adapted much of its 2020 programme of education, training, youth and
volunteering projects to run virtually in light of the Covid-19
crisis.

Lorraine Gilligan, Executive Director at Léargas, welcomed these
measures to foster creativity, culture and multiculturalism at a time
when learners, both young and old, may feel that opportunities are
more limited:  “In a way, 2020 has been the antithesis to what Léargas
promotes – we create opportunities for people to cross borders and
come together, the very thing we’re all being asked not to do in line
with public health measures.  We have faced new challenges but our
team, and the incredible organisations we work with across Ireland,
have found creative and innovative ways to adapt and to share their
learning with others here and across Europe.

“While the physical element of travel and exchange may not be as
accessible as it once was, with the support of this new EU fund, Irish
organisations which provide educational, artistic or creative
initiatives can continue to bring us all closer together.

“We know that challenges, such as those presented by this crisis, hit
some communities harder than others – for those experiencing digital
poverty or who lack the tools or skills to join the virtual world
where so much is happening this year, this fund will provide a
lifeline.  Arts and education organisations will be able to support
learners and teachers to continue connecting, creating and
collaborating at a time when we need that engagement and exchange
most.”

Léargas has announced online workshops and webinars to support
organisations to develop their project ideas for the Strategic
Partnerships in Digital Education Readiness and Creativity.

Ms Gilligan continued, “As with all our programmes, our team is here
to support organisations from across the school, vocational and adult
education sectors and youth groups to make the most of the
opportunities available.”

The Strategic Partnership for Digital Education Readiness will make
funding available to schools and vocational education organisations to
support learners, teachers and trainers adapt to online or distance
learning through digital tools and methods. There will also be a focus
on promoting safer and more responsible use of digital technology in a
new virtual learning environment.

The Strategic Partnership for Creativity will support adult and school
education or youth organisations to equip young people and adults to
develop creative and innovation solutions to unprecedented risks and
societal issues.  Organisations will be supported to promote active
citizenship through the arts and to reinforce virtual networks and
collaboration models that support intercultural exchange and
engagement.

For more information on the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships, visit
https://www.leargas.ie/news/e2-5-million-available-digital-education-creativity-projects/.
The deadline for applications is 11.00 am Irish time on Thursday 29
October 2020.

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