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European Social Fund (ESF)

ESF logoThe European Social Fund (ESF) supports employability initiatives like vocational training places for young people. The final year of delivery in colleges concluded at the end of June 2022. The University of Highlands and Islands will continue with their planned delivery into AY 2022-23 as the project comes to an end.


ESF Developing Scotland’s Workforce

In June 2018, The SFC Board approved the proposed activity / funding commitments for the second phase, over the period 2018-19 to 2022-23.

The second phase of ‘Developing Scotland’s Workforce’ (DSW), 2018-23, continues with the aim of addressing regional skills gaps and skills shortages associated with key employment sectors. The project will provide higher level skills to support the development of emerging growth areas. Funding has been allocated to allow the provision of additional further and higher education activity across Scotland, including Lowlands and Uplands Scotland (LUPS) and the Highlands & Islands (as a transitional region).

Programme guidance


ESF Developing Scotland’s Workforce Guidance 2021-22


ESF Developing Scotland’s Workforce Guidance 2020-21

The Scottish Government’s ESF Operational Programme can be found on the Scottish Government’s website, along with National Rules for the programme.


SFC / ESF Developing Scotland’s Workforce


ESF Developing Scotland’s Workforce


Youth Employment Initiative (YEI)

Developing Scotland's Workforce (DSW)

EU Exit and Scottish colleges and universities

SFC is working with colleges, universities and the Scottish Government to identify the potential impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union on institutions, their students and their staff, and to develop plans which will ensure Scotland remains the best place in the world to learn, to educate, to research and to innovate.

Further information.