United Kingdom

Scotland - ESF/YEI

Programme description

ESF spending in Scotland will take innovative approaches to boosting qualifications and employment, and reducing poverty.

The ESF operational programme (OP) for Scotland aims to build a sustainable future and provide clear benefits to the economy and to businesses, increasing employment and addressing inequality. The focus will be on increasing skills, particularly to meet labour market needs for key growth sectors. The EUR 930 million OP will ensure practical routes to employment for those facing multiple barriers to getting a job; and help reduce poverty by increasing the financial capacity of disadvantaged individuals and households.

Scotland’s ESF OP focuses on three areas:

  • A ‘staged pipeline’ system will tailor support around individual jobseekers, in contrast to using a generic approach. Projects will promote labour market mobility and improve equal access to employment and training for jobseekers, and in particular those needing most help.
  • Investments to combat social exclusion and poverty will target the unemployed, those on low incomes, single-parent households and deprived communities. Some 27 000 people will be helped. Barriers to employment will be removed and local communities helped to find innovative solutions to reducing poverty. Social entrepreneurship and innovative approaches will be encouraged.
  • Education and training systems will be made more relevant to the needs of industry and employers. More vocational training options will be introduced and funding will encourage higher qualifications, to meet the needs of economic growth. Over 37 000 people are expected to gain new qualifications with ESF support.

In addition, with Youth Employment Initiative funding, some 6500 young people in south-west Scotland will be supported through apprenticeships, training, job search and counselling, and start-up support for young entrepreneurs.

Programme text

Operational Programmes Scotland 2014-2020


Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire

Angus and Dundee City

Caithness & Sutherland and Ross & Cromarty

Clackmannanshire and Fife

Dumfries & Galloway

East Ayrshire and North Ayrshire mainland

East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire and Helensburgh

East Lothian and Midlothian

Eastern Scotland

Edinburgh, City of

Eilean Siar (Western Isles)


Glasgow City

Highlands and Islands

Inverclyde, East Renfrewshire and Renfrewshire

Inverness & Nairn and Moray, Badenoch & Strathspey

Lochaber, Skye & Lochalsh, Arran & Cumbrae and Argyll & Bute

North Eastern Scotland

North Lanarkshire

Orkney Islands

Perth & Kinross and Stirling


Scottish Borders

Shetland Islands

South Ayrshire

South Lanarkshire

South Western Scotland

West Lothian


ESF: 369,202,122.00 €

YEI: 51,014,110.00 €

Thematic priorities

TA - Technical Assistance

TO10 - Education and training

TO8 - Employment and labour market

TO9 - Social inclusion

Financial information

Total OP budget: 844,083,196.00 €

Total EU contribution: 420,216,232.00 €

Managing Authority

Scottish Government - European Structural Funds Division

5 Atlantic Quay, 150 Broomielaw

Glasgow G2 8LU

0300 244 4000


Head of unit

CCI number: 2014UK05M9OP002