The European Social Fund (ESF) focuses on improving employment opportunities, promoting social inclusion and investing in skills by providing help people need to fulfil their potential. Our ESF allocation is €56.2 million and is split across the 2 following priorities:

  • Inclusive Labour Markets (Priority Axis 1)

Including access to employment for job seekers and inactive people (1.1) – to help those who are disadvantaged but still relatively close to the labour market – to tackle their barriers to work, enter and sustain employment

Sustainable integration of young people (1.2) – to focus on helping young people, particularly those who are NEET or at risk of NEET to participate in the labour market and learning

Active Inclusion (1.4) – to help people who are more distant from the labour market and who face multiple disadvantages – to tackle their multiple, often complex and profound barriers to work and move them towards or into employment or to sustain employment

  • Skills for Growth (Priority Axis 2)

Enhancing equal access to lifelong learning (2.1) this focuses on improving the skills of individuals to meet their goals and the needs of the local economy, primarily training, advising or supporting individuals, including those in work but at risk due to skills deficiencies or facing redundancy

Improving the labour market relevance of education and training systems (2.2) – this focuses on improving employer participation and engagement in learning so that it is responsive to the needs of the local economy and progress of the individual into or within learning. This investment priority is primarily about improving partnerships and systems.

ESF infographic


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Snapshot guide of local provision that can help local people into work or training

The majority of our ESF programmes are continuing to take referrals and also continuing to support existing clients by remote technology during this social distancing period. Please do continue to refer individuals and employers to access support.

Guide to skills and employment support for individuals:

QuickGuide ESFSkillsSupport for Advisers Oct 2020 (covid)

Snapshot guide of local provision that can help businesses with workforce skills support

Guide to workforce support for employers:

BGGH QuickGuide Workforce Support for Businesses Oct 2020 COVID 19

Information on the contacts linked to our ESF programmes is also available here:

LLEP ESF ProviderContactList May2019

ESF Case Study Booklet 2019

The ESF Managing Authority has just published its latest ESF Case Study Booklet in which our £1.9m ESF Employment Hub is featured. So please have a look at the varied and innovative projects being supported through the UK’s European Social Fund programme 2014-20



ESIF Sustainable Development Implementation Draft Plan (281.62 KB)
ESIF Equalities Implementation Plan (319.61 KB)
Research into ESF Future Open Calls Consultancy Report August 2017 (1.36 MB)