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Training that works

The world of business and employment is evolving all the time, and this process is accelerating. New products, services and technologies demand new skills from workers. The ESF is helping build a culture of training and lifelong learning to enable workers and employers to keep their skills and competences up to date.

Learning no longer stops at the school gates. It has become a lifelong process. As new products and services appear, as innovative technologies and processes are adopted, as industrial sectors and enterprises restructure to become more competitive, so Europe's workforce must adapt to an environment where change is normal, and new skills are always desirable. Many thousands of ESF projects are helping workers get these new skills and take control of their careers.

  • Working with social partners, ESF projects are promoting skills development and training, in particular for transferable competences such as digital skills, languages and entrepreneurship. For example, where traditional industrial sectors are in decline and job losses threaten, the ESF funds retraining schemes to help workers acquire the skills to work in new sectors.
  • Vocational education providers are helped to align their teaching of the demands of the labour market, encouraging more apprenticeships and company trainee schemes.
  • To enhance worker mobility, quality assurance schemes for vocational education are being aligned with European standards. And the ESF is helping open flexible pathways through the education and training system, including developing European level qualifications.

As well as helping hundreds of thousands of individuals to get access to the training they want, the ESF is also encouraging vocational-training institutions and universities to improve the relevance and the range of courses they offer to companies and individuals. In particular, ensuring that what is taught is what is needed to get a job, improve performance and offer the trainee better job prospects.