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Giving a chance to all

Employment is the most effective way of giving people independence, financial security and a sense of belonging. The ESF finances many thousands of projects to help people in difficulties and those from disadvantaged groups to get skills, to get jobs and have the same opportunities as others do.

By helping individuals and groups who suffer from a disadvantage to get a proper education or find a job, the ESF helps them play a full part in their communities. ESF activities in this field follow four priorities:

A large part of ESF spending is devoted to combating ‘social exclusion’. Social exclusion arises when, for a variety of reasons, an individual, or a group, faces difficulties or discrimination in some aspects of their everyday lives. For example, a disabled man or woman who cannot get a job because employers doubt their abilities – without work theyare ‘excluded’ from a rewarding activity that most of us take for granted.


Ex-offenders, recovering drug abusers, ethnic minorities such as the Roma, recent immigrants with poor language skills – these are all examples of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups who are at risk of social exclusion and the poverty that can accompany it. Europe is committed to reducing social exclusion, and the ESF is one of the major instruments for achieving this. It focuses on employment as a means to eliminate discrimination, exclusion and poverty.