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European Social Fund (ESF) Operational Programme in mainland Finland

The ESF programme was designed to make human investments, i.e. to support projects that promote employment and knowledge. Financing is used to improve the prospects of success for people at a disadvantage and promote equal opportunities. In Finland, the Fund helps improve employment and job prospects and boost job creation.

The ESF programme provides financing for projects in which
long-term unemployed and disabled people receive training so
that they can return to work. The objectives include the promotion of employment, staying at work, and the prevention of social exclusion.

The ESF supports entrepreneurship and the development of
businesses and improves the functioning and productivity of
work organisations in a sustainable manner. The ESF programme also finances structural projects that affect
large groups of people in the long term. Examples of such
projects include the revamping of educational systems and curricula.


The objective is to improve the responsiveness of training
and education to the needs of the labour market and to make it
easier for graduates to join the labour market and for the adult
population to participate in training.

Quantitative objectives include the promotion of knowledge
and job prospects for 450,000 people with resources from
the European Social Fund and associated national resources
in 2007–2013. The objective is to create 7,000 new businesses
and 12,000 new jobs during the seven-year operating

Qualitative effectiveness is monitored by means of different
surveys, studies, and barometers directed at the participants
and trainers. These indicators are related to the improvement
of the skills and knowledge of project participants, their employment placement after the project has ended, cooperation networks, the created operating models, and the practices and innovations, as well as the promotion of equal opportunities.

Financing for seven years

The third programming period of the European Social Fund
started in 2007 and will end in 2013. Financing has been allocated separately for each year.

The national programme section does not cover the whole
of Finland despite its name, as Eastern Finland is excluded.
Eastern Finland has been provided with a specifically-tailored
financial framework that will be monitored separately due to
the special position of this area. However, Eastern Finland may
participate in the national section if it so decides within its own
financial framework.

The regional section is divided into the major regions of Southern, Western, Eastern, and Northern Finland, so that the areas can better be developed in accordance with their special characteristics. Eastern Finland also forms a particular transitional area in the regional section.