The purpose of the ESF is to give European citizens better job prospects and to help them succeed in their chosen careers. This is especially true today as the economic crisis threatens both workers and the businesses that employ them. The ESF is redoubling its efforts to boost job creation, support job-seekers and help keep people in work across Europe.
The ESF drive to boost employment aims at all sectors and groups of people who can benefit. However, there is a focus on groups who are suffering most or who can benefit significantly from ESF activities in these areas:
Across Europe, ESF projects are supporting job creation, opening new job opportunities for more people and drawing more of them into the workforce. These efforts – comprising thousands of programmes and projects – cover a wide spectrum of activities and groups of people.
For example, the long-term unemployed are being helped to get new skills and regain their motivation. In declining industries, the ESF is giving employees new productive skills and opportunities, often for new, growing sectors such as those forming part of the low-carbon economy. Parents are helped to return to workthrough access to childcare facilities, and flexible working arrangements. Women are encouraged to take up technical jobs, while men are trained in the caring and teaching professions usually dominated by women. Across Europe, the ESF is giving job-seekers and workers the skills and prospects that lead to more choice and greater control in their lives.
The crisis has brought high unemployment – over 25 million people in the EU in 2012. And long-term unemployment is also rising. Yet, in many places, job vacancies go unfilled, perhaps because job applicants lack the required skills or the jobs on offer are in another region or country. The ESF is closing this ‘skills gap’ by giving job-seekers the modern skills and qualifications – including ‘green skills’ – that are in demand by employers. The ESF also helps job-seekers to move across Europe to find work – for example, with internships abroad and language training.