ESF+ 2021-2027
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ESF+ 2021-2027

The European Social Fund Plus 2021-2027 provides an important opportunity for Malta to support investment in its human capital, which remains Malta’s most important resource. Such support will primarily be implemented under the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) Programme, which continues to represent the main funding arm for investment in human resources in Malta, complementing other EU funded interventions and investments. 

The ESF+ programme, with a total budget of some € 205 million, will continue building on the support provided under previous programming periods and reflect also the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The latter has impacted labour market stability and the provision of services in various sectors, including health and education and it has also exposed vulnerable groups including people at risk of poverty to increased socioeconomic risk. Within this context, investment under the ESF+ programme has the objective of strengthening capacities in all sectors falling within the scope of the ESF+ regulation, namely employment, education, health and social sectors, with the objective of improving and adapting services to new and emerging needs. 

The programme includes the following five (5) priorities:

·         Priority 1: Enhancing employability and labour market resilience;

·         Priority 2: Fostering active inclusion for all;

·         Priority 3: Quality and inclusive education and enhanced lifelong learning for growth;

·         Priority 4: Addressing material deprivation; and

·         Priority 5: Enhancing social innovation.

ESF+ resources will be mobilised to target the needs of vulnerable, disadvantaged and marginalised groups in a direct manner, particularly children, persons at risk of poverty, exclusion and material deprivation, persons with a disability, as well as youths and foreign nationals, in order to foster inclusion and integration. The programme will also improve, modernise and increase the accessibility of educational provision, strengthen efforts to retain strong and stable employment levels, as well as promote new employment opportunities, including to reduce the gender pay gap. 

A planned operation of strategic importance is that of promoting quality education and reducing early school leaving, with such operation allocated a total budget of € 45 million and is intended to take preventive and active measures across various years of education, with a view to strengthen education quality, including through digital means as well as improve staff competences in line with pedagogical developments. This initiative will therefore promote capacity-building measures for educators, pupils and their guardians, in addition to developing inclusive education pathways for all children.

The approved ESF+ Programme for Malta 2021-2027 may be found here​.