Press release

Publication of DWP research report 666:European Social Fund Support for In-work Training

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A report is published today by the Department for Work and Pensions covering the European Social Fund Support for In Work Training.

A report is published today by the Department for Work and Pensions covering the European Social Fund Support for In Work Training.  GHK Consulting Ltd was commissioned to examine the nature and effectiveness of European Social Fund funded in-work training within Priority 2 (Competitiveness) and Priority 5 (Convergence) of the 2007-2013 England and Gibraltar ESF programme. It aims to examine the quality and effectiveness of ESF in-work training to employees (mainly delivered through the Skills Funding Agency, or the Learning and Skills Council prior to 1 April 2010), particularly in reference to how effectively funding has been targeted at priority sectors identified in regional ESF frameworks, especially among sectors with identified skills gaps and shortages, and those traditionally weak in training.

Key findings from the research were:

  • The process of co-financing under ESF has led to a close strategic alignment between project activities and regional and sub regional priorities in terms of mainstream provision and priority sectors.  However, there was little evidence of providers targeting hard to reach sectors, although they expected to ‘pick up’ on these groups as a result of the normal activities.
  • Most providers were working with employers they already delivered to, and who had positive attitudes to training (although this may also have been developed through the projects).  Employers tended to identify which employees undertook the training.  There were a number of projects working with hard to reach employers and learner groups, but little overt targeting of them, particularly where ESF provision supplemented mainstream provision.
  • There was extensive evidence of impacts on both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ measures.  Providers, employers and learners all felt that the greatest impacts had been on addressing skill needs, confidence and motivation, and productivity.  In addition, there were positive impacts on employers in terms of their future training behaviour, although less impact was identified on learners’ progress in their occupations.
  • This study has demonstrated that in-work training supports mainstream programmes and agendas.  In particular ESF has supported the development and delivery of responsive, relevant and high quality provision, which both employers and learners found appropriate and beneficial.

Notes to Editors

  1. The DWP Research Report ‘European Social Fund Support for In-Work Training’ will be published on 20 July 2010.
  2. This research report aims to examine the quality and effectiveness of ESF in-work training to employees (mainly delivered through the Skills Funding Agency, or the Learning and Skills Council prior to 1 April 2010), particularly in reference to how effectively funding has been targeted at priority sectors identified in regional ESF frameworks, especially among sectors with identified skills gaps and shortages, and those traditionally weak in training.
  3. The research was carried out on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions by the GHK Consulting Ltd.  The evaluation was a predominantly qualitative case study focused approach, informed by MI and stakeholder consultations. The fieldwork took place between October and November 2009.
  4. The authors are Peter Dickinson and Richard Lloyd of GHK Consulting Ltd.

Website: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rrs-index.asp