European Social Fund

The European Social Fund provides €10 billion annually across the European Union. Each country in the European Union avails of this funding to improve job prospects for millions of people and create a more inclusive society. It co-funds local, regional and national employment-related projects throughout the European Union. You can find out more about the European Social Fund on the European Commission’s website.

In partnership with the European Commission, each country in the European Union develops one or more Programmes for ESF co-funding for a seven-year period, currently from 2014-2020.

The Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning

In Ireland, together with the Government, the European Social Fund co-funds the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020. Ireland also receives a special allocation of €68 million from the Youth Employment Initiative.

The Youth Employment Initiative aims to tackle youth unemployment and implement the Youth Guarantee by providing jobs, education and training opportunities for individuals under 25 who are not in Employment, Education or Training.

The key areas chosen for investment under the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020 revolve around helping people get back into education, training or work, helping those at risk of being excluded socially or from the job market, and encouraging youth employment and improving access to education.

The Programme will provide €1.153 billion in funding to over 20 national measures.

1.153 billion euro total funding for the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning. 542 million euro in funding from the European Social Fund, 68 million euro from the Youth Employment Initiative and 542 million euro in funding from the Irish Government.

Programme Focus

The national measures funded by the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020 are aimed at four distinct investment areas:

  • Helping unemployed people get back into the job market
  • Fostering an inclusive society and job market
  • Giving people better access to education
  • Fighting youth unemployment

The Programme aims to help nearly 1,000,000 Irish people over its seven year period and has been developed with key targets to ensure that it is achieving its objectives.

You can find out more about the European Social Fund and the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning on Ireland’s ESF website.

Performance Indictor targets for the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning are 135,000 training places for unemployed people and job-seekers, 33,000 young people supported under the Youth Employment Initiative, 185,000 disadvantaged students/students with disabilities assisted, 527,000 further education places for people with low education levels, and 81,000 employability programme for disadvantaged people.

European Social Fund: Investing in Your Future

Click on the tiles below to explore each of the investment areas that are co-funded by the European Social Fund. Each section provides examples of how support from the European Social Fund and other European Structural and Investment Funds are invested.