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European Social Fund (ESF)


The ESF aims to support jobs, help people get better jobs and ensures fairer job opportunities.

The European Social Fund Operational Programme: 2014 to 2020 sets out three priorities:

  • Priority Axis 1: Inclusive Labour Markets - aims to increase participation in the labour market and thereby improve social inclusion and mobility
    • Investment priority: 1.1 Access to employment for job seekers and inactive people
    • Investment priority: 1.2 Sustainable integration into the labour market of young people (ESF)
    • Investment priority: 1.3 Sustainable integration into the labour market of young people (YEI)
    • Investment priority: 1.4 Active inclusion, including with a view to promoting equal opportunities and active participation, and improving employability
    • Investment priority: 1.5 Community-led local development strategies
  • Priority Axis 2: Skills for Growth - aims to support skills for growth
    • Investment priority: 2.1 Enhancing equal access to lifelong learning
    • Investment priority: 2.2 Improving the labour market relevance of education and training systems
  • Priority Axis 3: Technical Assistance

Application for ESF in England is through an national open call process.

For further information and help on ESF, please contact us.

Youth Employment Initiative

In January 2013, the European Council created the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) in order to tackle the high levels of youth unemployment across Europe. The initiative is directed at young people aged 15- 24 years old who are not in education, employment or training.

In England, County Durham has been identified as one of the five LEP areas eligible for YEI funding. The allocation for County Durham is £17.87m, consisting of £6.7m YEI, £6.7m ESF and £4.47m matched funding.

For further information and help on YEI, please contact us.

In partnership with

  • European Union - European Social Fund
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European funding
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