European Social Fund (ESF)

This funding focuses on increasing labour market participation, promoting social inclusion and developing the skills of the potential and existing workforce. It incorporates the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) money for areas with very high rates of youth unemployment.

Within these priorities, a range of groups are focussed on in the ESF Operation Programme as it is recognised that they face relative disadvantages in the labour market. These are:

• people who are unemployed or economically inactive, especially disadvantaged groups such as people with disabilities, lone parents, older workers and ethnic minorities; • women returners and other groups of women currently outside the labour market; • young unemployed people, and especially those who are NEET; • people who lack basic skills whether they are unemployed or already in the workforce.

SELEP’s notional allocation for the 2014 – 2020 programme is €91,814,488 or £71,615,301 (at the current approved treasury exchange rate of 0.78)

Applying for ESF

ESF programmes of work have to be matched pound for pound in the SELEP area as the area is designated as “more developed”.

A number of contracts to deliver ESF in the SELEP area have been tendered or are in the process of being tendered. These are programmes of work that have been match-funded by Opt-in agencies. These are DWP Job Centre+, the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) and the Big Lottery with its Building Better Futures initiative. (click here for more information).

The total amount of ESF contracted/or is in the process of being contracted is approximately £50 million.

While there are multiple projects and contracts tendered by the Opt-in agencies listed above, SELEP requires them to work together, creating an escalator of opportunity, supporting people towards sustainable careers that support growth in the local economy.

Escalator of opportunity

The Escalator of Opportunity

Future Calls for Tenders

A number of calls for tenders are currently in preparation. More information will be available following the Chancellors Autumn Statement on 23 November 2016.