The European Union has allocated approximately 75 billion euros of ESF grants to its member states. This European Social Fund aims to help people in the Netherlands who are unable to find a job by themselves. It also offers grants to companies for in-service training of their staff members. Additionally, ESF supports socially innovative projects that improve employees’ labour productivity.

From 2007 to 2013, the Netherlands can spend a sum of 830 million euros in grants. The Netherlands has chosen three spearheads - as specified below - to spend these grants on. Projects within the scope of these spearheads will receive grants. ESF project supervisors may apply for grants annually within the fixed periods. ESF will offer a 40% grant to these projects and grants up to 75% to projects that are socially innovative. 

  1. Increase the number of available labourers
    ESF supports people who are on the fringes of the labour market, ensures that they participate in society and assists them in finding a job. Education and training will enlarge job opportunities for people over the age of 55 who are on social security benefit, non-recipients of social security benefits and incapacitated or partially incapacitated people. Project supervisors are UWV (the Workers Insurance Authority UWV) and training and development funds that will enhance the skills of these people so it will become easier for them to find jobs.
  2. Improve participation of the underprivileged
    Underprivileged citizens, such as detainees, persons subject to a hospital order and youngsters in a juvenile or youth custodial institution are supported by ESF to find permanent employment. This also applies to education for children with a mental or physical impairment who cannot attend standard education. ESF financially supports schools for vocational training and secondary special education. These schools prepare students for a job by coaching them towards the regular labour market, by advanced training at MBO-1 level (senior secondary vocational education - level 1) or to apprenticeship training.
  3. Promote flexibility and invest in human capital
    ESF offers youngsters more education and training opportunities so it will become easier for them to find jobs. ESF financially supports municipal authorities and training development funds that combat and prevent youth unemployment. ESF also financially supports employers who offer training to their staff members by means of training development, with an aim to improve their position on the labour market.
    In order to enhance labour productivity in the Netherlands, socially innovative projects are also supported. ESF financially supports employers who organize work procedures and work conditions smarter to work more efficiently. Additionally, the fund financially supports vital small and medium sized enterprises that promote the sustainable deployment of their staff members.