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ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL) 2014-2020

PEIL 2014-2020

The Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning, PEIL for short, is the only ESF programme in Ireland for the 2014 to 2020 period. It was formally approved by the European Commission in February 2015 and was launched in April of that year. The Programme involves a total investment of €1.157 billion; over €544 million each from the ESF and the Irish Government and a special allocation of just over €68 million from the EU’s Youth Employment Initiative.



Damien English, TD Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation and Zoltan Kazatsay Deputy Director General of Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion in European Commission at the launch of the Programme for Employability Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.


Priority Areas

In line with the investment priorities set out in the ESF Regulation, the key areas chosen for investment in Ireland revolve around activation of the unemployed, social and labour market inclusion, education and youth employment.

The PEIL contains five Priority Axes, including Technical Assistance, which funds the operations, administration and communication of the programme. The Priority Axes are as follows:

  • Priority 1: Promoting the attainment of sustainable and quality employment through relevant upskilling measures and supporting labour mobility.
  • Priority 2: Promoting Social Inclusion and combating discrimination in the labour market
  • Priority 3: Investing in Education, Training and Life Long Learning with a view to upskilling and re-skilling the labour force
  • Priority 4: Youth Employment Initiative
  • Priority 5: Technical Assistance

To view the activities supported under the PEIL please click here


Youth Employment Initiative

The Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) was created to tackle the high levels of youth unemployment and implement the Youth Guarantee by providing job, education and training opportunities to young people aged 15-24.

Funding was provided to EU Member States where youth unemployment was higher than 25% in 2012. In Ireland, unemployment figures for the under 25’s had reached a high of 31.9% in 2012, meeting the threshold for YEI funding.

The YEI in Ireland is being delivered using ESF support. The Youth Employment target group is young people under the age of 25 not in employment, education, or training. In order to focus the ESF and YEI funding directly, a separate Priority Axis (Priority 4) was established in the PEIL 2014-2020. The ESF will support under 25's in the following YEI activities: Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) Scheme, JobPlus, Youthreach, Defence Forces Employment Support Scheme, Community Training Centres, Momentum and the Youth Employment Support Scheme.