Workforce Development Fund (WDF)

All staff working in adult social care should be able to access and take part in learning and development so they can carry out their role effectively and deliver high quality care.

Skills for Care knows that there is a strong business case for investing in qualifications and development of staff and that employers recognise this.

The Workforce Development Fund is available to support employers to make that investment which benefits the organisation, the workers and those who need care and support.

To find out more about the benefits of WDF and to learn from organisations who have used it to support the learning and development of their staff click here.

The Workforce Development Fund (WDF) is a retrospective funding stream from the Department of Health distributed by Skills for Care.

It is a finite pot of money which focuses on the achievement of qualification units and supports the ongoing professional development of staff across the adult social care sector within England. 

You can read our overview leaflet here

Employers can use the WDF to make a significant contribution towards the costs of workers' completing health and social care qualifications and units, as well as university qualifications included in the Higher Apprenticeship in Care Leadership and Management.

It can also be used to help fund the delivery of intermediate and advanced level Apprenticeships in social care.

There are three ways in which employers can apply for the WDF:

  • Employer led partnerships

The fund is primarily distributed by Skills for Care via a network of employer led partnerships.

The lead partner of an employer led partnership is responsible for disbursing WDF to its members, and for supporting those members to comply with Skills for Care's eligibility criteria and evidence requirements.

Details of partnerships and how to apply are available by clicking here.

  • Direct access to WDF

If you an employer in one of the local authority areas that is not covered by a local employer led WDF partnership (Northumberland, Durham, Tees Valley, North Central London or North West London) you can claim WDF directly from Skills for Care. For more information click here.

  • Grant holder for a large national organisation

Large national organisations are responsible for accessing funding on behalf of their own workforce.

Details of large national organisations who have been awarded a grant can be found here

To be eligible for WDF funding you must:

Please note that the links in this section take you to introductory information about the NMDS-SC and qualifications, useful if you are unfamiliar with these. To learn more about the NMDS-SC requirements and the eligible qualification units for WDF click here.

We have a separate fund for the learning and development of people who employ their own staff (individual employers) and their personal assistants. For further information please click here

The process of accessing WDF through a partnership is the same for people who employ their own care and support staff with the exception of the NMDS-SC requirements. For guidance on how personal assistants can access WDF click here.

If you are a learning provider delivering units from our list of acceptable units 2015/2016 you can signpost employers to the WDF. We pay a contribution of £15 per credit for qualification units on the list of acceptable units. As this is an employer fund, the employer must join a WDF partnership, be part of a large national organisation that has their own WDF grant agreement, or have followed the process to access funding directly from Skills for Care. Learning providers cannot do this on an employer’s behalf.

Once a candidate has completed an eligible unit, you must sign off a completed qualification unit summary sheet in full to enable the employer to claim the funding. You can use the Skills for Care template unit summary sheet or an equivalent as long as it contains the same information. Employers will not receive any funds without this.

For further information click on the following:

Learning provider factsheet

Learning provider flowchart

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