One of the main tenets of the European Social Fund for the 2007-2013 period is to support the Lisbon Strategy in its aim to ensure equal opportunities for all in accessing the labour market. In Malta, Operational Programme II specifically lists the promotion of an equal and inclusive labour market as one of its Priority Axes. The overall aim of this priority is to promote the uptake of stable and quality employment by persons who face difficulties to participate in the labour market.
Through this Priority Axis, actions enable females to access the labour market and to retain their work-life balance. Other disadvantaged groups such as youths, single parents, victims of domestic violence and substance abuse, persons with disabilities or mental health difficulties as well as refugees are also assisted to unlock their potential and become more employable. Similarly, the long-term unemployed are also given the necessary skills to re-enter the labour market. Awareness campaigns, literacy tool-kits and training programmes are all provided with the aim of increasing the female participation rate and the integration of disadvantaged groups with a view of retaining and aiding members of such groups to improve their employment opportunities.
Operational Programme I is also complementing these operations through, among others, a scheme for childcare facilities and the construction and equipping of an independent living centre which assists persons with disabilities to select adequate equipment (e.g. wheelchairs, vehicle modifications, etc) which enables them to live a more fulfilling and independent life.