Employment, Inclusion, Skills and Training Programme 2021-2027

The Employment, Inclusion, Skills and Training Programme, EIST for short, is Ireland’s ESF+ programme for the 2021 to 2027 period. It was formally approved by the European Commission in October 2022 and approved by the Government of Ireland in November 2022. The Programme involves a total investment of over €1.08 billion; €508 million from the EU and €573 million from the Government of Ireland. The programme has two different rates of co-financing. As ‘more developed’ regions, the Southern and the Eastern & Midlands regions will receive 40% in EU co-financing, while as a ‘transition’ region the North-Western region will receive 60% in EU co-financing. 

EIST contains five Priorities which were developed in line with the European Piller of Social Rights, EU and national policy, and a stakeholder consultation process.

Priority 1 – Employment: Support labour market training and activation measures for all job seekers with a particular focus on younger workers, the long-term unemployed and those underrepresented in the labour market, including people with a disability.

Priority 2 – Skills and Lifelong Learning: Support increased access to inclusive education and training at all levels including through the enhanced provision of adult education and targeted support for learners from disadvantaged groups. Promote lifelong learning through support for upskilling and reskilling programmes in key sectors of the economy.

Priority 3 – Social Inclusion: Provide targeted support for individuals at higher risk of social exclusion, to facilitate their active participation in society and improve employability. Support actions designed to further the personal and social development of those at risk of poverty or social exclusion, in particular young people and children.

Priority 4 – Social Innovation: Support social innovation and social experimentation measures including the development and testing of new ideas, approaches and policies designed to address this challenge. It will also support the scaling up of approaches tested on a smaller scale or in a different context. The overall aim is to develop new approaches to the challenges faced by disadvantaged groups and to develop the social innovation ecosystem in Ireland

Priority 5 – Assistance to the Most Deprived: help people take their first steps out of poverty by addressing their most basic needs i.e. food and basic materials for personal use.