Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris has announced a €1 billion co-funded investment in employment, skills, social inclusion and poverty in Ireland under the European Social Fund Plus Programme.
The funding is a joint investment by the Irish Government and the European Union under the European Social Fund Plus. €573 million will come from the Irish Government and €508 million from the European Union, for the period until 2027.
Speaking about the funding, 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, nearly €499 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.
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 over €1 billion (€1,081,009,996).