International Funding

European Social Fund

The European Social Fund (ESF) was set up to improve employment opportunities in the European Union and so help raise standards of living. It aims to help people fulfil their potential by giving them better skills and better job prospects.

The ESF will be allocated to Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) areas for a full 7 year period through a new decentralised EU Growth Programme. Growth Programme Funds will be allocated to Local Enterprise Partnership areas as an important new source of finance to stimulate local growth and jobs. This marks a significant shift from previous European programmes which were substantially centralised with limited local involvement in many key areas. Under this new model, decision-making powers will be transferred from Whitehall to local areas. LEPs and local partners will be in charge of European Funds that will provide significant investment in innovation, business, skills and employment in a common agenda for growth and jobs that will integrate effectively with wider LEP Strategic Plans. 


Erasmus+ is the new EU funding programme for education, training, youth and sport for 2014 to 2020. Erasmus+ combines previous funding programmes in the sector including the Lifelong Learning Programme (Comenius, Leonardo, Erasmus, Grundtvig and Transversal Programmes), Youth in Action, Jean Monnet, Tempus and Erasmus Mundus. The Erasmus+ programme aims to boost skills and employability, as well as modernising Education, Training and Youth work, with a budget of €14.7 billion (a 40% increase on previous European funding initiatives) reflecting the EU's commitment to investing in these areas. As an integrated programme, Erasmus+ offers more opportunities for cooperation across the EducationTraining , Youth, and Sport sectors, providing opportunities for over 4 million Europeans to study, train, gain work experience and volunteer abroad.

As the successor programme to the Lifelong Learning Programme, Erasmus+ will continue to enable UK organisations of all kinds to access funding for exciting and innovative projects in all areas of education and training. Erasmus+ is open to a wide range of organisations across all sectors of education and training. Any public, private or non-profit organisation actively involved in these areas is able to apply for funding through the programme, but whilst Training opportunities for individuals still exist under Key Action 1, individuals themselves are not eligible to apply.
Further information is available on the Erasmus+ website​.