Welsh Government Social Research

Executive Summary

  • The aim of the 2013 ESF Leavers Survey is to assist in assessing the effectiveness of labour market interventions delivered under ESF. Telephone interviews were conducted with approximately 2,000 people who had left an ESF project delivered under Priorities 2 and 3 of the Convergence Programme and Priorities 1 and 2 of the Competitiveness Programme during 2013.
  • In addition, as part of the 2013 Leavers Survey, experimental qualitative research was undertaken with participants from projects targeting particularly vulnerable groups, in order to understand whether their experience of ESF differed from those responding to the telephone survey and to investigate whether such participants were disproportionately less likely to participate in telephone research1.

Who are the participants?

  • On entry to an ESF project, nearly three quarters of respondents to the survey from ESF interventions aimed at increasing participation in the labour market were unemployed. However, 9 out of 10 described their careers since completing full time education as being continuously employed or as being in paid work for most of this time. This is higher than in the Leavers Surveys from previous years. Participants in the qualitative research had much more fractured experience of the labour market.
  • The main difficulty in finding work prior to participation in ESF cited by unemployed survey respondents was a lack of jobs in the area in which they lived, reported by 40% of respondents. A lack of qualifications or skills was cited by 14% of unemployed respondents. Again (and reflecting the nature of the projects involved) participants in the qualitative research were much more likely to cite personal factors such as alcohol or drug dependency, health problems or having a criminal record.