ESF federal programme - centres for the future

Rapid digital transformation and increasingly noticeable demographic shifts are profoundly changing the world of work. For small and medium-sized enterprises in particular, this presents new opportunities and growth prospects. At the same time, there is enormous pressure to adapt. The challenges of demographic shifts and digital transformation are affecting the eastern Länder to a greater degree and much earlier. The question is how can we help companies, employees and the self-employed master these transformation processes? This is precisely where the centres for the future come into play.

Rethinking and testing in-company skills training
With the centres for the future programme, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs will provide targeted support to the eastern Länder to help them cope with major transformations, for example, the results of developments in artificial intelligence. The main goal is to ensure that the social dimension is taken into account. We need to rethink and test in-company skills training, always keeping an eye on promoting the capability for self-learning and influencing outcomes. For example, innovative concepts for in-company further training aim to increase companies' digital skill levels. This is necessary because digital technologies are transforming the work that needs to be done and the skills required to do it in all professions.

The centres for the future follow a holistic approach: they are aimed both at companies and their employees as well as at the self-employed, in particular the individually self-employed. One "regional centre for the future" is to be created in as many of the eastern Länder as possible in order to take a nuanced look at the differing needs of the various regions and sectors. At a higher level, a "centre for digital work" will collect the lessons learned and facilitate nationwide knowledge transfer. A "house for the self-employed" will provide information on the establishment of interest groups and self-regulating procedures in order to improve the remuneration, working conditions and social security of the individually self-employed and platform workers.

The expertise of the stakeholders and networks in the regions is crucial for the development of the centres. The people living in eastern Germany have special skills for dealing with transformations: they have already successfully mastered one profound upheaval. This is what we need to build on.

More than 36 million euros will be available for the programme through June 2022.

Profile of the programme

Target group
  • Enterprises

Small and medium-sized enterprises and their employees and self-employed, in particular the individually self-employed

Implementation period

2019.08.01 - 2022.06.30

  • Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
Thematic objective

A: Promoting sustainable and quality employment and supporting labour mobility

Additional Information

web­site of pro­gramme


Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales

Referat DA 2 - Human Resources (HR) Strategien, Transfer und betriebliche Praxis


Villemomblerstraße  76
53123 Bonn

  • Phone: 0228 99 527-2654