Launch of Employment, Inclusion, Skills and Training Programme 21-27

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has today announced a €1 billion co-funded investment in employment, skills, social inclusion and poverty in Ireland. 

The funding is a joint investment by the Irish Government and the European Union under the European Social Fund Plus with €573 million coming from the Irish Government and €508 million from the European Union for the period until 2027. 

Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “Ireland’s European Social Fund Plus programme is about investing in our people.   

“The funding will be used to support a wide range of initiatives including upskilling and reskilling, lifelong learning, social inclusion and social innovation, with an emphasis on young people, and most at-need groups.” 

The following priorities have been identified for funding: 

  • Access to employment 
  • Skills and lifelong learning for all 
  • Tackling poverty and social exclusion 
  • Social innovation 

Almost half of the funding, €498.6 million, will be directed towards tackling poverty and social exclusion, especially among people from disadvantaged communities and children’s services, as well as promoting equal opportunities for everyone in society, regardless of their background. 

More than €180 million will be spent on driving employment, with a particular focus on young people and the long-term unemployed. 

A further €281 million will go towards upskilling, reskilling and promoting lifelong learning, including entrepreneurial and digital skills, and assisting with promoting professional mobility. 

Almost €34 million will be used to address material deprivation through food and basic material to help the most deprived people in society.

Among the new measures will be a €31 million investment in upskilling childcare workers, and an investment of €11 million investment in sport for social inclusion innovations. 

The total amount of investment being made available under the ESF+ Programme is €1,081,009,996. 

Minister Harris stands at a podium, with the Irish flag behind him.
Minister Harris
Minister Andriana Sukova addresses a full room of people seated around round tables. There are two projector screens behind her, and a banner in the corner of the room for the EIST programme.
DDG Sukova