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Home > News > July 2005 > 11-Jul-2005

DWP publishes follow-up survey of ESF training leavers

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has published a follow-up survey of people who received European Social Fund (ESF) funded training between June and November 2002.

The European Social Fund (ESF) is an EU fund which aims to support Member States' employment and skills strategies. Its priorities include helping unemployed and inactive people into work; providing opportunities for people at a disadvantage in the labour market; promoting lifelong learning; developing the skills of employed people; and improving women's participation in the labour market.

The survey of ESF leavers re-interviewed people originally interviewed six months after they had received training with the aim of establishing what impact the training has had over time.

According to the survey:

* The overall proportion of beneficiaries in employment continued to increase and stands at 61% compared to the 53% in work at the time of the original survey. Only 38% had been in work immediately prior to training.

* Of all those who had moved into employment since the start of their training 70% were still in work.

* Nearly three-quarters of beneficiaries agreed that ESF had increased their likelihood of attending further training with 46% having participated in other training since their ESF course.

* Generally the skills acquired had been of lasting benefit with the acquisition of IT skills and improved confidence and self-esteem the most frequently cited.

* People who were inactive were the least successful at securing employment - just under a third moved into work since the start of their training - reflecting their distance from the labour market. A companion report ‘ESF: A profile of 'inactive' beneficiaries’ says that 'inactives' should be recognised as a diverse group with varied work outlooks and differing needs. They include people with long-term illness not actively seeking work, lone parents in receipt of benefit, those with intensive caring responsibilities, and women returners to the labour market not registered as unemployed.

* Despite the diversity in ESF courses undertaken, several factors facilitated beneficiaries' participation including: a preference for training in community or localised settings which were seen as less intimidating by inactive beneficiaries, good group dynamics and flexible structure regarding attendance and pace of learning.

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Further information on ESF is available on the ESF website at

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