A report is published today by the Department for Work and Pensions covering the European Social Fund Cohort Study: Wave 1. This is the first wave of a large scale quantitative survey with two waves of interviews with participants of projects funded by the European Social Fund. The survey is designed to evaluate the longer term outcomes of the training and advice provided through the 2007-2013 ESF programme.
Key findings from the research were:
The rate of unemployment among Priority 1 and 4 participants fell from 70 per cent in the week before the course to 50 per cent at the time of the interview, while the employment rate rose from 5 per cent to 22 per cent in the same period.
Of those participants who were in employment at the time of the interview and who had been out of work in the week before the course, 52 per cent said that the course had helped them to find a job.
Younger people were more likely to say that the course had helped them to find work.
ESF provision has been broadly welcomed with most participants feeling that their ESF course was helping them to gain or improve the skills needed for work and that it was boosting their self confidence about working.
Satisfaction levels with ESF provision were relatively high, with 78 per cent of participants saying that the course was relevant to their needs. Younger people and women tended to be more satisfied with the course. Generally, people from ethnic minority groups were more positive than white people about their experiences of the course, while people with a disability or long term limiting illness tended to have more negative views.
Of those that remained unemployed, most had made job applications (68 per cent) while 34 per cent had been to job interviews.
Notes to Editors
The DWP Research Report ‘European Social Fund Cohort Study, Wave 1’ will be published on 20 July 2010.
This research report aims to provide evidence of the longer term outcomes of ESF programmes. Further objectives of the Cohort study are to acquire more detailed information about the characteristics of participants in order to complement the MI data; to understand how participants came to be on their course; to describe the types of support and activities provided by projects and how beneficial these were felt to be by participants; to explore participants’ aspirations for their training and whether they were met; to measure the difference that the programme has made to participants’ employment, employability, qualifications, skills and progression in the workplace; to explore ‘soft outcomes’, such as improved confidence, and to measure how these factors differ for particular disadvantage groups.
Priorities 1 and 4 focus on improving employment opportunities for people who are out of work, especially people who face disadvantage in the labour market.
The research was carried out on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions by The National Centre for Social Research. The first wave of fieldwork took place between April and September 2009 during which 10,947 ESF respondents were interviewed.