The European Commission formally approved Ireland’s European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) programme in October 2022.
The Employment, Inclusion, Skills and Training (EIST) Programme will see Ireland benefit from €508 million in ESF+ funds from the European Union for the 2021-2027 period. This, together with a planned national contribution of €573m, will amount to a total EIST budget of some €1.081 billion.
EIST will see investment in:
- Access to employment
- Skills and lifelong learning for all
- Tackling poverty and social exclusion
- Food and basic material assistance to the most deprived
- Social innovation
The Programme will fund a range of schemes in these priority areas, implemented by different Government Departments and Agencies.
Government approval for the draft programme was secured in July 2022, after which it was formally submitted to the European Commission for its approval and adoption.
The ESF has played an important role in Ireland since the country joined the EU in 1973. The adoption of EIST by the Commission provides the basis for that important role to continue into the future.
The ESF+ is about investing in people. It aims to achieve high employment levels, fair social protection and a skilled and resilient workforce for the future world of work. In Ireland, the EU and national EIST funding will be used throughout the country to support a wide range of initiatives including training to upskill and reskill, lifelong learning, social inclusion and social innovation, with an emphasis on disadvantaged and most at-need groups.