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The ESF in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is using ESF funding to overcome bottlenecks to growth and higher living standards. Workers with better skills, and more open pathways into work for all – wherever they start from – are vital to creating the adaptable and flexible workforce which will offer success and better prospects for everyone.

Breaking down barriers to work

ESF projects are giving people the training and skills that lead to better job prospects. The aim is to give every job-seeker the opportunity to realise his or her potential in a rewarding job. Already, over 3 million people have benefited from ESF projects – such as the ‘Intermediate Labour Market’ project which delivered work placements and training to over 2000 long-term unemployed people – two-thirds of whom went on to permanent employment. A similar project is the ‘Liverpool in Work’ initiative which offered job-seekers from deprived communities the chance to set up their own businesses – aiming for 650 new start-ups.

Many projects are helping disabled people join the workforce, including a social enterprise that works with some 1000 employers and has helped over 2500 disabled people find work in south-east England.

Better skills

Creating an education and lifelong-learning system that is adapted to the needs of both employees and employers is a key focus of ESF activities – aiming at a flexible workforce able to fill the jobs offered by a developing economy. For example, the ‘Smart Exporter’ programme in Scotland is giving employees in 6000 companies the skills needed to boost exports. In Cornwall, ESF funding is helping local businesses improve their green credentials and use these to create jobs. In the Tyneside region, the ESF is helping train highly skilled workers in a range of sectors including engineering and technology – with the aim of boosting job prospects. And in the southern UK, construction workers are getting heritage and conservation skills and craft know-how that will help preserve monuments and historic buildings – a growing area for employment.

ESF contacts in the United Kingdom

The ESF in the United Kingdom: data and figures



Who is funded

See the list of beneficiaries

Who participates

446,665 people