A Starship Robot driving down a streetA Starship Robot driving down a street


A Starship Robot driving down a street
Northampton Waterside CampusNorthampton Waterside Campus


Northampton Waterside Campus
East Northamptonshire Enterprise CentreEast Northamptonshire Enterprise Centre


East Northamptonshire Enterprise Centre
School students having a discussion with their teacherSchool students having a discussion with their teacher


School students having a discussion with their teacher
People talking in a building under constructionPeople talking in a building under construction


People talking in a building under construction
Northampton College Advanced Engineering CentreNorthampton College Advanced Engineering Centre


Northampton College Advanced Engineering Centre

European Social Fund (ESF)

The ESF priorities are to increase labour market participation, promote social inclusion and develop the skills of the potential and existing workforce. There is a strong focus on supporting people who are disadvantaged to enter and progress in the workplace. The fund is managed by the Department for Work and Pensions. SEMLEP’s remit is to take a strategic view on how best to prioritise ESF funding to deliver growth and jobs in the South East Midlands area.

The total value of the SEMLEP ESF Programme is around £54m (depending on exchange rate).

ESF is a fund aimed at people, rather than businesses. It focuses particularly on people who are unemployed or economically inactive; young people aged 15-24 who are not in education, employment or training; and people who face multiple and often complex barriers getting into employment.

ESF also funds projects that support people in work by investing in basic, intermediate and higher level and technical skills to help employees progress in work or in business and help drive growth in their organisations by improving productivity.

Projects currently being delivered (up until December 2023) also include:

  • pre-employment training in core work-related skills
  • preparation for apprenticeships or outreach work to engage marginalised young people aged 15-18 in customised training and volunteering activities
  • assisting people in work to develop their basic skills particularly in SMEs
  • enhancing intermediate, technical and higher skills at level 2, 3 and above
  • entrepreneurial/business skills in target groups

ESF-funded projects meet stringent national eligibility requirements and fit with local priorities. These are outlined in the European Structural Investment Fund Implementation Plan and described fully in the SEMLEP ESIF Strategy. More information and resources, including data, can be found in our resource hub. You can read more about national requirements in the European Regional Development Fund Operational Programme 2014-20.

For more information regarding ESF projects, please contact Steve.McAteer@semlep.com.

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