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About ESF

Eligibility for ESF Funding

In Ireland, for the 2014-2020 Structural Funding period, ESF funding is being invested in line with the investment priorities set out in the European Social Fund Regulation (EU) No 1304/2013 . The key areas chosen for the ESF in Ireland revolve around activation of the unemployed, social and labour market inclusion, education and youth employment. The details of how the ESF will be applied to Ireland during 2014-2020 period is outlined in the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL).

ESF grants are not available directly from the Department of Education & Skills. The ESF supports a range of courses, schemes and projects across the country but this assistance is channelled through a number of Government Departments and Agencies, which were selected following a comprehensive consultation exercise. These Bodies include: the Department of Justice and Equality, the Department of Social Protection, the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, SOLAS, the Higher Education Authority and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

Funding from the ESF may mean new courses provided, additional places on courses, no fees or assistance for students or trainees. Details of the national schemes supported through the ESF can be found here.