Human Capital - ESF

Programme description

Education, training and qualifications are the focus of the ESF operational programme for human capital in Portugal, driving growth and social inclusion.

The ESF Human Capital operational programme (OP) in Portugal will invest in education and vocational training to give young students and workers the qualifications and skills the economy needs to grow and to promote social inclusion. Further investment in higher education will finance more equal access to tertiary education by students with limited resources.

With nearly 85% of its funding coming from the EU budget the OP – worth EUR 3.642 billion – has the following priorities:

  • To improve the quality of school education. A target to reduce early school leaving rates to 10% and support for secondary vocational courses will better prepare young people to find work. Further measures will give marginalised groups better access to good quality education at pre-school, primary and secondary levels, reducing their risk of social exclusion.
  • To support higher education, particularly for people currently excluded from this. Grants for 124 000 diploma-level students and 4300 PhD students will increase access to studies, while new short professional courses will open up higher education to 23 000 students.
  • To improve the educational level of workers and jobseekers. Adults will receive support to complete educational programmes and improve their level of qualification, with around 30 000 expected to complete training courses that lead to certified skills. Vocational education, apprenticeships and specialised artistic education for young people will give them the opportunity to earn qualifications that make it easier for them to find jobs.

Further innovative measures are expected to improve the quality of Portugal’s education and training systems. The country intends its targeted investment to increase the skills level and qualifications of its workforce overall and support economic development.

Programme text

Programa Operacional do Capital Humano



Centro (PT)



ESF: 3,095,832,100.00 €

Thematic priorities

TA - Technical Assistance

TO10 - Education and training

Financial information

Total OP budget: 3,642,155,414.00 €

Total EU contribution: 3,095,832,100.00 €

Managing Authority

Agência para o Desenvolvimento e Coesão

Avenida 5 de Outubro, n° 153

1050-053 LISBOA

00351 218 814 000


Head of unit

CCI number: 2014PT05SFOP001