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European Social Fund

The European Social Fund (ESF) was set up to improve employment opportunities in the European Union and so help raise standards of living. It aims to help people fulfil their potential by giving them better skills and better job prospects.

What is the ESF?

The ESF is Europe’s main instrument for supporting jobs, helping people get better jobs and ensuring fairer job opportunities for all EU citizens. It works by investing in Europe’s human capital – its workers, its young people and all those seeking a job. ESF financing of EUR 10 billion a year is improving job prospects for millions of Europeans, in particular those who find it difficult to get work.

How the ESF works

The EU distributes ESF funding to the Member States and regions to finance their operational programmes. These programmes fund employment-related projects which are run by a range of public and private organisations called beneficiaries. These projects benefit their participants– usually individuals, but also companies or organisations. Employment is the most effective way of giving people independence, financial security and a sense of belonging. The ESF finances many thousands of projects to help people in difficulties and those from disadvantaged groups to get skills, to get jobs and have the same opportunities as others do.

Working In Partnership

The European Social Fund is designed and implemented in a partnership between the European Commission and national and regional authorities such as the Skills Funding Agency. This partnership also involves a wide range of other partners, such as NGOs and workers’ organisations, in the design of the ESF strategy and the monitoring of its implementation. Working in partnership is the best way to ensure that spending is as effective and efficient as possible and meets the needs of the region or community concerned.

ESF projects are applied for and run by a wide variety of organisations known as beneficiaries, including public administrations, workers’ and employers’ organisations, NGOs, charities and companies including UK Training and Development through The Skills Funding Agency.

The individuals who take part in an ESF project are called participants; these include, for example, older workers training for new skills, young job-seekers getting work placements, or people seeking advice on how to set up their own business.

Further information can be found at: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/esf/ 

Please sign to confirm that you understand that your Apprenticeship/Traineeship may be match funded by the European Social Fund 

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