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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Latest on ESF Calls

European Social Funds in Leicester & Leicestershire 2020

The final calls under ESF were launched on 16th September 2019 by the LLEP and closed on 9th December. They were under IP-2.1 and 2.2 and were are aimed at supporting our key employment sectors such as digital skills sector:

£1.9m ESF Digital Skills Digital Skills (no applications received)

£1.9m ESF Employment Hub (application to be assessed shortly.

£1.6m LLEP Sector Skills for Productivity(no applications received)


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

Snapshot Guides

Here are snapshot guides on our fully funded ESF workforce support programmes and also ESF skills support that can help local people back into work or positive outcomes. The guides have been updated in November as some programmes ended on March 31st and new programmes commenced from April 2019.

QuickGuide ESFSkillsSupport for Advisers from Nov 2019

QuickGuide ESFWorkforce Support for Businesses Dec2019

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

LLEP ESF ProviderContactList May2019


There are two ESF funded programmes that can enhance the skills of employees in the LLEP area. To find out more, click on the ESF programmes update box below, followed by ‘Skills Support for the Workforce’.

For further information about the structure of the ESF programme, please see the downloads below.


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)