Across the EU the ESF is financing initiatives to improve education and training and ensure young people complete their education and get the skills that make them more competitive on the jobs market. Reducing school drop-out rates is a major priority here, along with improving vocational and tertiary education opportunities.
ESF programmes and projects are helping to improve performance across the whole education sector from nursery schools through schools and universities to lifelong learning and vocational training systems. They are targeting three main results:
ESF support to education covers a broad range of activities. New school curricula are being implemented to give young people a better start in life, and teachers are receiving training to improve their performance. As well as a general education, students are learning the skills that will help them choose the careers they want and get the jobs that are needed by industry.
The ESF is helping universities and vocational training institutions to build closer relations with businesses and employers in their countries and regions – such that graduates can move smoothly from learning into employment. And university postgraduate research and development is supported by ESF funds to increase the number of young entrepreneurs and innovators, particularly in high-technology sectors.
As well as giving education systems a boost, the ESF is also focusing on their customers – schoolchildren, university students, workers and job-seekers seeking training and new skills. Many projects are taking steps to reduce early school-leaving and ensure young people have appropriate skills and qualifications – particularly among disadvantaged groups such as minorities and those with an immigrant background. Others are ensuring workers and job-seekers get involved in lifelong-learning opportunities to keep their skills and qualifications up to date as industries’ needs and the economy evolve.