Skip to content

European Social Fund

Related Links

This publication sets out future policy actions which will enable Wales to evolve into a highly skilled nation.
European Social Fund logo

The fund is used to support a number of projects aimed at raising skills and job prospects.

It supports the European Union's (EU) goal of increasing employment by giving unemployed and disadvantaged people the training and support they need to enter jobs. The European Social Fund (ESF) also equips the workforce with the skills needed by business in a competitive global economy.

What we want to achieve

The aim of the ESF programmes is to create a high skill, knowledge driven economy, with full employment, a skilled, adaptable workforce and responsive businesses, at the cutting edge of sustainable development.

2007 to 2013 programme

Organisations will now be focussing on how Wales can make the best use of structural funds and maximise the funding opportunities available.

2014 to 2020 programme

From the success and lessons learned from the previous programme, our approach to employment and skills support aims to deliver a more integrated employment and skills offer from 2014 onwards.

We will focus on providing leadership and direction, adopting a strategic commissioning role as opposed to a direct delivery role. This approach will create a more coherent and integrated portfolio of programmes at national, regional and local level.

ESF will focus on supporting three main aims:

  • To tackle poverty and social exclusion by increasing labour market participation and helping people to access sustainable employment by
    • increasing employment levels, particularly for underrepresented groups and those furthest from the labour market
    • reducing inequalities in the labour market amongst women and recognised equality groups.
  • To invest in skills as a driver of productivity and growth, to aid progression within employment and improve the skills mix and diversity of our workforce by
    • increasing skill levels of the workforce and reduce the number of people with no skills or basic skills only and increase higher level skills in research and innovation
    • reducing inequalities in the labour market amongst women and recognised equality groups.
  • To invest in our young people to create a vibrant and responsive future workforce with the skills needed to respond to the needs of a challenging knowledge based economy by
    • increaseing youth employment and educational attainment, thereby reducing poverty and disadvantage in our young people
    • reducing inequalities in the labour market amongst women and recognised equality groups.

Further information about the specific objectives linked to each of the 3 main aims of these programmes can be found with the Operational Programmes that can be accessed on the WEFO website (external link).