What do we fund?

The key areas of investment chosen for the ESF in Ireland revolve around activation of the unemployed, social and labour market inclusion, education and training and youth employment. 

ESF grants are not available directly from the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science. The ESF supports a range of courses, schemes and projects across the country but this assistance is channelled through a number of Government Departments and Agencies, which were selected following a comprehensive consultation exercise. These Bodies include the Department of Justice, the Department of Social Protection, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, the Department of Rural and Community Development, SOLAS, the Higher Education Authority and the Department of Defence.

Funding from the ESF may mean new courses provided, additional places on courses, no fees or assistance provided for students or trainees. 

The Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020 includes four Priority areas (five including Technical Assistance) comprising of some 20+ schemes. The Schemes and their Priority Areas are as follows:


Priority 1: Sustainable and Quality Employment 

•  ETB Training for the Unemployed

•  Intra EU Mobility


Priority 2: Social Inclusion and Equal Opportunities

•  Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme

•  Youthreach

•  Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDPs)

•  Young Persons Probation (YPP) Projects

•  Tus Nua


Priority 3: Education, Training and Life-Long Learning 

•  Third Level Access

•  Back to Education Initiative

•  Adult Literacy


Priority 4: Youth Employment Initiative

•  Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) Scheme

•  JobsPlus Incentive Scheme

•  Youthreach

•  Defence Forces Employment Support Scheme

•  Community Training Centres