By Tracy Anderson, Clare Tait and Cheryl Lloyd
The European Social Fund (ESF) Cohort Study explores the longer-term outcomes of the training and advice provided through ESF. The study covered four of the ESF priorities: Priorities 1 and 4, which have a focus on extending employment opportunities and tackling barriers to employment; and Priorities 2 and 5, which aim to develop and improve the skills of the workforce.
Wave 1 of the ESF Cohort Study took place between April and September 2009 and included interviews with 10,947 ESF and match participants. Wave 1 respondents were then approached again between January and March 2010 (Wave 2) and January and March 2011 (Wave 3), subject to consent to be recontacted. Full interviews were conducted with 7,400 respondents at Wave 2 and 2,740 respondents in Wave 3.
This report contains the findings from Wave 3 and focuses upon the longer term outcomes of ESF provision, particularly whether the outcomes observed at previous points in time have been sustained and whether any additional outcomes are evident. The report also examines the involvement of ESF and match-funded participants in training about green issues and the degree to which they are employed by organisations providing related products and services.
NatCen was commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to carry out the third wave of the study in 2010. The research was part-funded by European Social Fund technical assistance under the 2007-13 England and Gibraltar ESF programme evaluation strategy.