Leonardo da Vinci
The Leonardo Da Vinci programme, pillar of lifelong learning
In today's economic climate Europe is facing a twofold challenge. First, there is a need to prepare European citizens better for entering the labour market, thereby reducing the number of unemployed. Second, companies need a skilled workforce to cope with rapid scientific and technological changes in an increasingly competitive world. To meet this challenge the European Commission's Leonardo da Vinci programme serves as a laboratory of innovation in the field of lifelong learning.
Following its initial phase, from 1995 to 1999, the Community's Leonardo da Vinci vocational training programme is now in its second phase, covering the seven-year period from 2000 to 2006. The programme promotes transnational projects based on co-operation between the various players in vocational training - training bodies, vocational schools, universities, businesses, chambers of commerce, etc. - in an effort to increase mobility, to foster innovation and to improve the quality of training. The Leonardo da Vinci programme aims at helping people improve their skills throughout their lives.
Community funds for the first phase of the programme amounted to € 793.8 million, approximately 40% of which was used for mobility projects. This meant that from the end of 1995 to early 2001 about 125 000 people received a grant for a work-related stay abroad. In addition, a total of over 3 000 pilot and other projects were funded producing an eclectic range of training products in a variety of media. Funding has increased in the second phase and in the year 2001 around 38 000 people benefited from a Leonardo da Vinci grant. The budget for the second phase is just under € 1.4 billion and the programme is open to 31 countries.
It is now necessary to build on the achievements of the first phase of the Leonardo da Vinci programme in order to ensure its continued success and make it even more relevant to today's individual and society. The Leonardo da Vinci programme is a key instrument in the drive to implement lifelong learning strategies that offer synergies between European policies for training and employment.
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