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How does it work

What is the ESF?

The ESF is one of the four European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds in Ireland. The ESF is the longest established ESI Fund. The other Funds are the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). For further information on the ESI Funds in Ireland visit their dedicated website


The ESF is the primary financial instrument for improving employment opportunities for people throughout the Union. The ESF channels money into helping Member States meet the goals they have agreed for educating and training people throughout Europe through the Europe 2020 strategy. Its mission is to help prevent and fight unemployment, to make Europe's workforce and companies better equipped to face new challenges and to prevent people losing touch with the labour market.

How does it work?

ESF Operational Programmes are planned by Member States, together with the European Commission, and then implemented through a wide range of provider organisations both in the public and the private sectors. These include national, regional and local authorities, educational and training organisations, voluntary organisations and the Social Partners (i.e. trade unions and works councils, industry and professional organisations) and individual companies.

For the period 2014-2020, ESF investments within Ireland will be delivered  through the PEIL. Within this programme, the ESF provides funding for certain Social Inclusion and Active Labour Market Measures which support its overall objectives.

To view the PEIL 2014-2020 click on the image below

Programme_Cover PEIL