Shaping the changing world of work through social partnership: continuing education and training and promoting gender equality (ESF Social Partner Initiative)

The overarching aim of the programme is to empower social partnership to shape the world of work to promote a sustainable human resources policy and corporate culture. By developing sustainable continuing education and training structures at companies and strengthening the equal, livelihood-securing participation of women in the labour market, companies` innovativeness and competitiveness is to be bolstered and the occupational competence of employees is to be maintained and promoted.

To this end, the efforts of the social and workplace partners are to be supported in the scope of the ESF Social Partner Initiative in terms of the following aims and objectives:

  • Building sustainable and participative human resource development and continuing education and training structures and corporate culture as well as testing new forms of work and working time models
  • Raising the participation of women in gainful employment that reflects their skills and secures their livelihoods.
  • Strengthening participation in continuing education and training at SMEs by improving access and expanding opportunities tailored to needs.
  • Boosting the participation of previously disadvantaged groups in continuing education and training by improving access and expanding opportunities tailored to needs, especially for part-time employees, the low-skilled, people with migration backgrounds or disabilities in all their diversity.

To implement these aims and objectives, grants are being awarded to fund projects with a demonstrable social partnership approach to develop, test and introduce concepts and measures in the following four fields of action:

  1. Promoting continuing education and training in the changing world of work
  2. Shaping gender equality
  3. Regional networks to bolster continuing education and training and/or gender equality at SMEs
  4. Model development of innovative approaches to strengthen continuing education and training and/or gender equality.

In all fields of action, measures are to be developed and tested on the basis of concrete company needs. Only by taking into account the concerns of the workforce and the company management will it be possible to shape company and personnel policy in a sustainable, social, gender-equitable and ecological way during structural change.

The funding directive is a joint initiative by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA) and the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) and is being developed and implemented in close consultation with the partners.

It is the successor programme to the ESF programme " Securing the skilled labour base: vocational training and education (CVET) and gender equality " from the ESF funding period 2014-2020.

Profile of the programme

Target group
  • Employees
  • Enterprises
  • Self-employed

Social partners, employees, in particular: women, part-time employees (also exclusively marginally employed), low-skilled people, people with a migration background, people with disabilities in all their diversity and employees in SMEs

Implementation period

2022.06.15 - 2027.12.31

  • Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
Funding priority

1: Promotion of sustainable and quality work, start-ups and entrepreneurship as well as adaptation to change

Additional Information

Web­site of pro­gramme


Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales

Referat EF 1 -
Europäischer Sozialfonds
Digitale Transformation

53107 Bonn


ESF-Regiestelle "Wandel der Arbeit"

c/o Forschungsinstitut Betriebliche Bildung (f-bb) gGmbH

Stresemannstrasse  121
10963 Berlin

  • Phone: 030 417498630 Beratungshotline: montags von 13.30-16 Uhr und donnerstags von 10-12.30 Uhr