At Federal level, the ESF focus is on supporting job creation and entrepreneurship, while in the Länder, young people, skills and education are the priorities. Together, these programmes are working to bring more job-seekers into work and give them the skills that will help them benefit from future growth.
The ESF is supporting the drive to help 290 000 aspiring entrepreneurs to set up and run their own businesses. University students are gaining business skills in the EXIST programme, while elsewhere the ESF is funding professional development initiatives for new business owners. Across Germany, micro-credit schemes are helping self-employed entrepreneurs – including women and immigrants – grow their companies and create new jobs.
Bringing more people into work is a major priority and ESF projects are creating opportunities to get new skills and better job prospects for many groups of people. For example, the XENOS programme is fighting discrimination in recruitment and at work. Language lessons are offered to recent immigrants, who can also get their professional qualifications recognised. The ‘Girls Day’ events are encouraging young women into technical professions, and 70 000 new childcare places are helping mothers get back to work and find a better balance between work and family obligations.
Regional ESF projects are promoting education and training for young people to give them the qualifications and skills needed for good jobs. Some hundreds of projects are boosting the provision of apprenticeships and have created over 50 000 places. For disadvantaged groups of young people, such as immigrants, the low-skilled and those with disabilities, the ESF is offering the vocational training opportunities they need along with supporting activities such as career guidance and mentoring – some 400 000 have been helped so far. For example, one project is providing mentoring to older schoolchildren from migrant backgrounds to help them make the important transition into vocational training.
Such ESF projects, and many others, are supporting Germany’s aim to significantly reduce long-term unemployment and the number of families at risk of poverty.