What do we fund?

Ireland’s ESF+ programme 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.  The ESF+ will contribute to reducing the risk of poverty and social exclusion, with an emphasis on disadvantaged groups. Funding will also improve the chances of people getting a job by providing training to up-skill and reskill, lifelong learning, and education measures with a focus on those who face greater challenges in accessing the labour market.

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, the Department of Education, SOLAS, the Higher Education Authority, Skillnet and Sport Ireland.

The Employment, Inclusion, Skills and Training 2021-2027 includes five Priority areas comprising some 20+ schemes. The Schemes and their Priority Areas are as follows:


Priority 1: Employment


Priority 2: Skills and Lifelong Learning

Priority 3: Social Inclusion


Priority 4: Social Innovation

  • Sport Inclusion
  • DRCD Social Innovation


Priority 5: Assistance to the Most Deprived

  • Assistance to the most deprived