This research aims to inform the forthcoming negotiations for the European Structural and Cohesion programmes to run from 2014 to 2020. It looks at how the European Social Fund (ESF) might be used to promote economic growth and the creation of employment opportunities through eg supporting activity around self-employment, entrepreneurship and the providing of re-skilling opportunities.
The research was based around Manchester and Newcastle to gain insights into how ESF delivery arrangements are working at the local level, and how they might best serve city-level priorities in the future.
Although current ESF delivery is seen as contributing to addressing employability and skills concerns, a number of clear issues for consideration emerged from the study. For some, current provision is viewed as too generic, partly because it is delivered through large contracts rather than being more locally focused and oriented around meeting specific local needs.