With the general election in full swing and parties laying out their views for the future of the UK, the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) will today launch a report into the future of the Employment and Skills sector.

The report entitled Sharing Prosperity: Building Better Employment Support for the UK is sponsored by The Salvation Army and Shaw Trust and details how the UK has benefited from European Social Fund (ESF) support.

Over 1.1 million people have gone into work after leaving a programme supported by ESF during the last round of funding (2014-2019) making a big dent in the UK unemployment figures.

The pre-election government led by Prime Minister Johnson committed to a UK Shared Prosperity Fund to be the replacement for ESF.

ERSA, Shaw Trust and The Salvation Army are now asking that all parties make clear what their plans are to replace the money provided by the ESF once the United Kingdom leaves the EU.

The report looks at the specific impact on areas such as young people, skills, health, crime and the disparity between areas of the UK which desperately need funding provided by the ESF.

Commenting on the launch of the report Elizabeth Taylor, CEO of ERSA said, “the next Government must make sure that the employment and skills sector is at the heart of their post-Brexit plan.”

“The UK has benefited from the European Social Fund since it joined the EU over 40 years ago. Organisations supporting people into work across the UK need assurances from all parties that they will not lose any funding in the long, or the short term.”

Rebecca Keating, Employment Plus Director at The Salvation Army said: “This money helps people who desperately want to work but face numerous challenges from poor mental health or lacking up to date job skills.

“We have seen thousands of people in places across the UK turn their employment prospects around thanks to our Employment Plus scheme which is funded by ESF. To cut this funding would be to abandon these people and their families.”

The report also focuses on more than ten case studies from providers who currently receive ESF funding, written by a range of employment support providers.

Chris Luck CB MBE, Chief Executive Officer at Shaw Trust has said: “I welcome this timely report which shows the vital contributions ESF funding makes to people’s lives across the UK. This report offers a clear template for how we can build on the success of the ESF but also how we can, and must, go further in supporting disadvantaged groups that often fall through the gaps of existing state provision.”


Notes to editors

  1. A copy of the report can be downloaded here. 
  2. For further comment, or to arrange an interview with ERSA CEO Elizabeth Taylor please contact Cameron Ball on 07964 663710 or via email at cameron.ball@ersa.org.uk
  3. ERSA’s annual conference is being held in North West London on 27 November with industry leaders, civil servants, and well-known providers. For accreditation please contact cameron.ball@ersa.org.uk
  4. Shaw Trust is a charity helping to transform the lives of young people and adults across the UK.  Our specialist services help people gain an education, enter work, develop their career, improve their wellbeing or rebuild their lives. As a charity we add value to every service we deliver by investing back into the people and communities we support.

    Shaw Trust is one of the largest 25 charities in the UK proving joined-up services for government, local authorities, combined authorities, employers, stakeholders – including the Department for Work and Pensions, Education and Skills Funding Agency, clinical commissioning groups and NHS Trusts – and individuals.

    For more information please visit: https://www.shaw-trust.org.uk/

  1. The Salvation Army is an international Christian church and registered charity which has been transforming lives for more than 150 years. Working in 131 countries worldwide, The Salvation Army offers friendship, practical help and support for people at all levels of need. In the UK and Republic of Ireland this work includes more than 750 community churches and social centres.

    Registered Charity Nos. 214779, 215174 and in Scotland SC009359, SC037691. For more information visit the website www.salvationarmy.org.uk

  2. The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) is the trade association for employment support. Established in 2005, for the industry by the industry, it exists to help its members achieve their shared goal: to help people achieve and sustain employment.

    ERSA’s membership is as diverse as the employment support sector itself. Its members deliver a wide range of government-commissioned welfare to work programmes, including the Work and Health programme, National Lottery Building Better Opportunities, ESF, Returners Fund and, Challenge Fund, plus other employment-related services.

    ERSA represents prime contractors, plus a larger number of subcontractors. ERSA’s members are drawn almost equally from the private and voluntary sectors, with a small number of public sector organisations also in membership. It is the diversity of its membership that gives ERSA its strength to speak as the authoritative voice of the sector.