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The ESF in Germany

Germany is deploying ESF funding to address the challenge of skills shortages and an ageing population. Widening labour market participation, raising skill levels and supporting active inclusion are the main targets of ESF investments.

Across Europe and in Germany 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.

ESF investments are being made available through 17 operational programmes, one for each of the German Länder and one at federal level (Bund). At national level, the budget is divided equally across three priorities: employment, social inclusion and education. There are different emphases for these priorities between the East (which receives more funding) and West of the country, and between individual regions – reflecting different circumstances and needs.

Building skills

ESF projects are addressing the impending shortage of skilled workers by offering training in new competences for all workers and particularly the young and older people. Reconciling work and family life is another objective: training and qualification measures aim at improving the employability and job prospects especially of women, reinventing their careers. Projects on ‘active ageing’ are helping people to stay on at work longer, for example by developing new working models together with companies. People are supported in lifelong learning; updating their skills or learning new ones where needed.

Broadening the workforce

Through a range of activities, the ESF is also mobilising the economic potential of low-skilled workers, people with an immigrant background and people with disabilities. The ESF is investing in upgrading their skills and qualifications through job coaching, language courses and individual, targeted training. It also helps to combat social exclusion.

Supporting education

Reducing the number of early school-leavers is another focus, as is facilitating the transition from school into work for young people. Furthermore, in line with the ongoing need for new skills, all workers and jobseekers, from all age groups, are encouraged to take up training and learning opportunities. ESF measures also aim at making sure that education and training – and the skills and qualifications they lead to – are relevant to industry needs by involving stakeholders, such as chambers of commerce and Industry, cooperating with enterprises, and involving NGOS or education providers where relevant.