Welsh Economic Review, 25 pp 18-27

This paper presents findings from an investigation into the experiences of people who participated in training programmes in Wales, between 2009 and 2013, which were supported by the European Social Fund (ESF). The two ESF Operational Programmes (referred to as the Convergence and Competitiveness Programmes) benefiting Wales for the programming period 2007-13 provided just over £1.4 bn1 of investment, with approximately 85% of this channelled through the West Wales and the Valleys Convergence Programme. Whilst wide ranging in their remit, the interventions supported by the Programmes related to investment in human capital.

The 2009-2013 Combined Analysis of ESF Leavers Surveys was conducted by an inter-disciplinary research team led by Cardiff University on behalf of the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO)2. The aim of the ESF Leavers Surveys is to assist in assessing the effectiveness of labour market interventions delivered under the ESF. This paper describes the findings from the combined analysis of data from five successive Leavers Surveys, covering the period 2009 – 2013, undertaken to facilitate more detailed analysis for population sub-groups. In total a sample of 23,769 interviews from ESF participants (identified as having left an ESF project during the years 2009-2013) were used for the Combined Analysis.