Funding priorities ESF Plus (2021-2027)

Five federal ministries will implement a total of 28 ESF Plus funding programmes during the 2021-2027 ESF Plus funding period. This will enhance Europe's social dimension.

Thematic Concentration

The EU requirements (Regulation (EU) No. 2021/1057, Part II, Chapter 1, Article 7) stipulate that ESF Plus resources be used in the member states in a way that has a "thematic concentration". For example, each Member State must allocate at least 25% of the total available ESF Plus resources to "social inclusion" and at least 3% to "to support the most deprived persons". The ESF Plus federal programme will allocate around 28% of the resources to social inclusion and just under 9% to support the most deprived persons according to current plans.

The federal ESF Plus measures (ESF Plus funding programmes) have a thematic concentration on five funding priorities.

The funding priorities are:

1. Promotion of sustainable and quality work, start-ups and entrepreneurship as well as adaptation to change

  • Support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in securing and recruiting skilled workers and in creating and filling new jobs and training positions (Right candidate for the job; Promoting entrepreneurial expertise)
  • Promotion of SMEs and their employees, mainly by supporting them in adapting to demographic change and the green and digital transitions while increasing their level of performance, innovation and competitiveness (INQA-Coaching; Hubs for tomorrow) and also reinforcing the self-employed (KOMPASS)
  • Promotion of start-up entrepreneurs, in particular innovative, research-based start-ups coming from academia (EXIST Transfer of Research; EXIST Business start-up grant)
  • Vocational upskilling for employed people, especially women, migrants, older people, people with disabilities, single parents and the low-skilled (Shaping the changing world of work; Tailwind3)
  • Improving opportunities of women with a migration background to participate in education and training and the labour market (MY TURN)
  • Promotion of upskilling measures that are required for the recognition of qualifications obtained abroad (IQ)

2. Promotion of social inclusion and fighting poverty

  • Support for disadvantaged young people to help them take responsibility for their own lives (Encouraging Youth); Promotion of transnational mobility measures for young people who are unemployed or looking for a job (JUVENTUS)
  • Trying out new ways to reach young immigrants or young descendants of immigrants (Giving advice)
  • Support for disadvantaged families, families in special circumstances and families affected by or at risk of poverty with children (Akti(F) Plus; Opportunities for parents)
  • Improving opportunities for people with a migration background, including refugees to participate in training, education and the job market (WE)
  • Partner programme of the urban reconstruction and development assistance programme "Social Cohesion - Building Coexistence in the Neighbourhood Together" and measures in selected disadvantaged neighbourhoods Raising employability and labour market integration while strengthening local economies (BIWAQ)
  • Promotion of micro-projects to bolster social participation and overcome loneliness and social isolation (Strengthening the participation of older people)

3. Investing in general and vocational education and training and lifelong learning

  • Measures to expand full-day primary schools and secure opportunities for education and participation in society for all children (All-day care)
  • Research, development and testing of integrative low-threshold gender-aware educational opportunities for girls and women with migration backgrounds and/or with experience of being a refugee; Research into cultural sensitivity in the education system and the development of new measures (Integration through Education)
  • Development of topic-oriented, municipal-level educational systems with the aim of increasing local participation in education, promoting lifelong learning and improving social mobility (Education Communities)
  • Funding research, knowledge transfer and further training (testing) in the field of the introduction of new technologies and their effects on employees (Future of work)
  • Implementation and development of innovative ideas for education and training for upskilling of training staff in companies and inter-company training centres geared to the long term with the aim of transregional, implementation on stable footing of approaches in German vocational training structures that are relevant in terms of their sustainability (Sustainability at work)
  • Promotion of measures that have practical application and take place outside of school curricula to help young people about to make their initial career choices get to know and try out training and courses of study that focus on climate action; training courses for climate-friendly action in everyday working life.

4. Social innovation

  • Support for the elderly to help them participate in society and achieve financial security (Strengthening the participation of older people)
  • Development and testing of targeted measures to support young men with particular difficulties in terms of access to education and training and employment (Win-Win)

5. Aid to the most deprived

  • Aid to the most deprived, especially the homeless and newly arrived particularly disadvantaged EU citizens and their children (FEAD Plus)

Other key concerns are making equal opportunity a reality and reducing discrimination in the education system. The Federation will therefore reallocate around 57 million euros of ESF Plus funds to Erasmus+ to give other groups of people access to transnational learning (Programme for European learning mobility and innovation).

Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, horizontal principles and environmental sustainability

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union defines the fundamental rights of those living in the EU. Precautionary measures are in place to ensure compliance with the Charter in connection with ESF Plus funding in all phases of planning and implementation of the federal-level ESF Plus programme.

In ESF Plus funding particular emphasis is given to the goals of "gender equality" and "anti- discrimination" as horizontal goals. This means that gender equality must be taken into account in all funding measures. Moreover, there is to be no discrimination on the basis of gender, skin colour or ethnic origin, religion or beliefs, disability, age or sexual orientation in ESF Plus funding. Planning and implementation of ESF Plus-funded measures is also in line with the goal of environmental sustainability.