The European Social Fund
For more than 50 years now, the European Social Fund (ESF) has made funding available for training and advice. It promotes active labour market policy and the struggle against all kinds of discrimination on the labour market.
The ESF is making an important contribution in the structural fund period of 2014-2020: around €876m is being invested in the Employment Austria 2014-2020 programme.
The following priorities are being set as part of the programme:
Equal treatment for women and men on the labour market
The ESF's engagement supplements the measures adopted and/or planned and financed nationally as part of the National Action Plan for Gender Equality on the Labour Market.
The main focuses of the project, which is co-financed by the ESF, will be on structural and organisational changes in companies (particularly SMEs) and also on advice and skills training offers. This includes, for example, advice on equal pay and work-life balance as well as parental leave management for women and men, development programmes to get ahead at work and obtain higher-level qualifications, and technical-commercial colleges for women.
Active and healthy ageing
It is planned to extend and supplement the existing range of offers to increase the employment rate of older workers with the aid of the ESF. Advice programmes on maintaining the health of older workers over the long term will also be supported.
Active inclusion and the improvement of employability
The specific measures co-financed by the ESF are designed to support the integration into the labour market of the following persons: those on the margins of the labour market with low levels of employability and a lack of integration (recipients of the minimum income), disadvantaged or disable young people who are neither in training nor employment, and Roma/Romni
At the same time, there are plans to develop and realise individual support programmes for the so-called working poor, in order to enable their sustainable integration into employment and to ensure that they can earn a living from employment in the medium-term.
Preventing early school leaving, promoting education
The ESF foresees measures to reduce and prevent early school leaving and to promote equal access to high-quality early learning and high quality primary and secondary education. The main target groups are young people with disabilities or learning difficulties, young persons with migrant backgrounds and young people from sectors of society or families where little emphasis is placed on education. All of these groups are at a greater risk of dropping out of school or training.
With measures such as model projects for comprehensive language support, the establishment of school social work (realised by the Federal Ministry of Education and Women's Affairs), and vocational assistance (youth coaching, FitForTraining, vocational training assistance, work assistance for young people and job coaching), the number of those dropping out of school and training are to be reduced and integration promoted in training courses which follow on from compulsory schooling.
Equal access to lifelong learning, and the upgrading of workers' qualifications
As part of this focus, persons who are educationally disadvantaged are to be reached by programmes with innovative low threshold approaches and provided with support in the acquisition of additional abilities and competences. Alongside direct promotion of the target group, the aim is for the framework conditions for the support of these approaches to be professionalised and their quality monitored.
Local employment initiatives and access to employment for job seekers
Job seekers, those not in employment, the long-term unemployed and persons on the margins of the labour market are to be provided with better access to employment - by local employment initiatives, for example.
For example, there are plans for persons in Burgenland who are not in employment to be sustainably integrated into the labour market by participating in education programmes in which - alongside skills training - employment-relevant social problems are dealt with.
Adapting to changing times
This support is directed towards employees, companies and employers.
In Burgenland, skills training measures for (future) businesspeople are intended to contribute towards the development of entrepreneurial spirit and to increase the numbers of the self-employed. The programmes concentrate on the initial and further training of key employees and skilled workers in order to increase the competitiveness of Austrian companies in the world market.