Social inclusion and higher employment are at the core of the Netherland’s strategy for ESF investments. By offering disadvantaged people the chance to get skills and improve their employability, the country aims to achieve both objectives together.
Across Europe and in the Netherlands the ESF is supporting jobs, helping people get better jobs and ensuring fairer living standards and job opportunities for all EU citizens. It is doing this by investing in Europe’s human capital – its workers, its young people, disadvantaged groups and all those seeking a job. Tens of thousands of ESF projects are active in Europe’s cities, towns, rural communities and neighbourhoods. They are opening doors to skills, to work, to qualifications and to a more inclusive society for all Europeans.
The Netherlands is targeting ESF funding at two related objectives: increasing the overall employment level to 80% of the working age population, and reducing the number of workless households by 100 000 by the end of the funding period in 2020. To reach the jobs target, the Netherlands is using ESF funding to give those who have drifted far away from the labour market the chance to get back into gainful employment.
Low-qualified jobseekers, people from immigrant backgrounds, jobseekers with disabilities, mothers returning to work after long breaks, ex-prisoners and young people without qualifications are examples of the groups being targeted by ‘active inclusion’ measures. Over 70% of ESF funding is being spent on projects and initiatives – mainly at regional and local level – to help such groups integrate or reintegrate back into the labour market.
A second major ESF theme involves supporting older workers. Against a background of an ageing population, the Netherlands wants to give people opportunities to work for longer. ESF projects are helping older workers resolve ‘work vs health’ issues and offering training opportunities in new skills to improve their job prospects. Employers are playing an important role by adapting working practices to suit the needs of older workers.
The Netherlands is also providing extra ESF help to its four largest cities – Rotterdam, Amsterdam, The Hague and Utrecht – to help improve the job prospects of young people and non-European immigrants through coaching and training programmes.