Article featured in the Plymouth Herald, By William Telford
UK business leaders are being sought to mentor Italian counterparts – because not enough UK entrepreneurs are volunteering for a paid-for scheme.
Erasmus+ is a 17.5 billion euro, seven year European Union programme, designed to provide opportunities for more than four million Europeans to study, train, gain work experience and volunteer abroad.
But while lots of Europeans are using the scheme to visit the UK, including Plymouth and Portsmouth, the flow from the UK has been less.
Roberto Greco a Turin based consultant who has been working with the Tellus Education Group, is keen to encourage Britons to take part in EU funded exchange schemes.
“I want a greater interchange with Europe, not just Italy, and want to offer this kind of opportunity to everyone,” he said.
Mr Greco said that two years ago a project called Network for Development Co-operation sent 10 UK graduates to work with Italian companies, three of them finding work in Italy as a result.
There is now a project called Training Entrepreneurial Skills Transitionally (TEST), which brings entrepreneurs, specialists and trainers to Italy.
A number of people from Plymouth, Portsmouth and from across the UK have travelled to Caserta, a satellite city of Naples, to work with the start-up support company 012 Factory in its academy for start-ups.
Tellus Education Group has been involved in this and Mr Greco said: “We want to offer the same experience to Plymouth and Portsmouth people as the European students and mentors received when they came to the UK.
“The EU is creating opportunities for everybody, and English people should know that, especially now, at a crucial moment for the UK in Europe.”
“And this helps people understand what the EU is.”
Neil Pick, chairman of the Tellus Education Group, said: “Our latest project collaborating in Italy with the 012 Factory has been a great success where UK business leaders from Plymouth and Portsmouth have mentored new start-up companies in Italy.”
“I’m looking forward in going to Italy to see for myself how this unique programme is funded by Erasmus+ and supporting entrepreneurship in a very poor region of the EU, and bringing together UK and Italian business leaders and encouraging enterprise in both countries.”