WISERD Research Reports Series, WISERD/RRS/003
The two ESF Operational Programmes which are benefiting Wales for the Programming period 2007 – 2013 are together providing a little over £1.2 billion1 of investment, with almost 90% of this channelled through for the West Wales and the Valleys Convergence Programme2. In total, they are expected to provide support to almost 300,000 individual participants (formerly “beneficiaries”) – 267,500 under Convergence and 26,600 under Regional Competitiveness and Employment. The interventions which are supported by the Programme are wide-ranging, though all relate to the investment in human capital. They include:
- Measures to prevent young people from “falling out” of mainstream education and overcoming barriers between education and employment (Convergence Priority 1, Themes 1 and 2);
- Active labour market measures for the unemployed (Convergence Priority 2, Theme 1 and Competitiveness Priority 1);
- Support to develop the employability of the economically inactive (Convergence Priority 2, Theme 1 and Competitiveness Priority 1);
- Preventative measures to reduce the risk of those in employment but with poor health from losing their jobs (Convergence Priority 2, Theme 2);
- Improving the skills of those already in work – with a particular focus on those with low skills but extending also to the provision of higher level skills to support the knowledge economy (Convergence Priority 3, Theme 1, Competitiveness Priority 2);
- Improving systems to identify and anticipate skills needs (Convergence Priority 3, Theme 2, Competitiveness Priority 2);
- Measures to tackle the gender pay gap and to promote gender equality (Convergence Priority 3, Theme 3, Competitiveness Priority 2);
- Investment in human resources within the public sector to improve public services (Convergence Priority 4).
Given the scale of the investment, it is clearly essential to evaluate the impact of measures supported by the Programmes. The 2009 ESF Leavers’ Survey provides some of that evidence.