ESF Overview

An overview of how European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) are helping develop Lancashire's skills base

The 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme provides funds to help local areas stimulate growth. The funds support investment in innovation, businesses, skills and employment to improve local growth and create jobs.

A single ESIF Growth Programme has been set up to combine three separate European Funds. The Growth Programme provides funding to help projects in England that create jobs and economic growth.

These are:

For further information on the Growth Programme please click here: ESIF

The local priorities for the three funds are detailed in the Lancashire ESIF Strategy.  Further details of the programme, the strategy, open calls and previous calls are detailed on the Lancashire LEP website.

European Social Funds (ESF)

ESF is broken down into a number of investment priorities focused on skills and employment.  In summary these are:

  • Social Inclusion: promotion of active inclusion by supporting disadvantaged residents to move closer to the labour market.
  • Sustainable Employment and Labour Market Mobility: supporting unemployed adults and young people ‘not in education, employment or training’ (NEET) to enter sustainable learning and/or employment.
  • Skills for Growth: Training for Skills and Life Long Learning: development of knowledge, skills and competence within the workplace and supporting SMEs to engage in workforce planning and vocational education.

Funds have been directed towards priorities aligned with the investment priorities and the priorities identified in the Lancashire Skills and Employment Strategic Framework.

A number of projects are now contracted and delivering – here is an overview of the projects that are now in the delivery phase for businesses and individuals.

Open calls can be accessed via the LEP website.

Lancashire Skills Escalator

The Lancashire Skills Escalator has been developed to join up projects funded through ESF, to maximise sustainable employment outcomes for Lancashire residents living in or and/or working in the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area.

The Hub is working with providers involved in the delivery of projects to develop effective referral processes, so that Lancashire residents can move from project to project to enhance their employability, and ultimately secure sustainable employment.  The Lancashire Skills Forum brings together accountable bodies for each of the projects to support referral processes, sharing of good practice and joined up activity.

The diagram on this page provides a picture of the Lancashire Skills Escalator, to demonstrate how people can move from one step of the escalator to the next.

Escalate, an interactive tool detailing funded provision is now available on this website and will enable referral agencies to direct Lancashire residents to the best support for them, based on their personal circumstances, distance from the labour market and geographical location. To get started click here and complete the form.

For more information about the Lancashire Skills Escalator, the forum and/or Escalate please email us at In addition to Escalate, we have developed the Opportunities Map specifically focused on provision for young people who are NEET.


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