Access WDF via a partnership

Here you’ll find an overview of how to access WDF through an employer led partnership, how to make a claim and the terms you will be bound by when accessing the fund.  

Before you start the application process, you should make sure you meet the eligibility criteria. To be eligible to apply for the funding you must:

  • be an adult social care employer in England
  • have staff completing eligible qualification units
  • have an NMDS-SC account that meets WDF requirements.

Our information for employers leaflet provides further information and outlines the process you should follow when applying for the WDF via a partnership.

The guidance for employers document will guide you through the process for accessing WDF.


Adult social care qualification units

WDF is a contribution towards the cost of completing units and qualifications.

Funding is calculated on the credit size of qualification units at £15 per credit.

How much you can claim back will depend on the qualification, the units selected and how many credits make up those units.

The Care Certificate

For employers who are using formal qualification processes to deliver the Care Certificate, download our units mapped to the Care Certificate guide which sets out how the Care Certificate maps across to QCF units in accredited qualifications. It enables those who are claiming the Workforce Development Fund to identify a monetary value for each unit.

To access WDF, employers need to join one of the employer led partnerships. 

The rules of joining

Employers must join and liaise with the partnership directly. A third party, such as a learning provider, cannot do this on an employer’s behalf.

How the partnerships work

Within each partnership there is a ‘grant holder’ who is responsible for the disbursal of the funding within the partnership, and supporting their members to access the fund.

Find out more about the requirements that grant holders and their partnerships should exercise in disbursing WDF

Employers are encouraged to work together through partnerships, where appropriate, to commission learning providers to meet common needs and maximise the use of limited funding. 

Finding a partnership

Joining your chosen partnership

When you’ve selected a partnership to join, you’ll need to complete a members’ declaration form, which confirms your agreement to the terms which employers accessing WDF are bound by. You will need to send this to the lead partner of your chosen partnership.

NB. Any employer who has accessed WDF in previous years does not need to complete a new members’ declaration form unless they’re joining a new partnership. By continuing to access WDF employers are bound by the current terms.

If you’re an employer in an area that does not have a local employer led partnership, you can claim WDF directly from Skills for Care. If you think this applies to you, have a look on the direct access to WDF web page. 

Finding a learning provider

Employers have free choice as to which learning provider they use to deliver learning and development to their staff. WDF partnerships may be able to provide some suggestions of learning providers who operate within their local area but it is important to note that this is purely a signposting option.

In some cases the lead organisation for a WDF partnership may have a training arm to their business but they cannot make it a requirement for employers who are accessing their training provision to join their WDF partnership or for members of their WDF partnership to use their training provision. This represents a conflict of interests and is expressly forbidden.

Our choosing workforce learning guidance provides tips for finding a suitable learning provider.

You can also search our bank of endorsed training providers who have passed quality assurance processes to ensure high quality learning. 

The role of the learning provider

Before entering into a contract with a learning provider, you should ensure that they will supply you with unit summary sheets, signed off by the internal verifier on completion of the units.

You should also check that you will not be charged for the supply of verified summary sheets. Once you’ve agreed terms with the learning provider we recommend that a written agreement is put in place between both parties.

Some learning providers promote that they deliver qualifications which are fully funded through the Workforce Development Fund either through their website information or promotional materials or via their sales representatives. Please be aware that any learning provider who promises ‘free’ training as the learning is funded by the WDF is providing employers with incorrect advice as to how this funding works. We would recommend that you seek clarification from organisations if they make such promises as they cannot provide this guarantee.

Further information can be found in the FAQs for employers


To access WDF employers need to complete the NMDS-SC and ensure it meets WDF requirements.

Register for the NMDS-SC or access your account. Here you will find support on how to do this in the form of short video tutorials or you can phone or email the helpline.

Meeting the requirements

To find out about the requirements you need to meet and how compliance will be checked download our Requirements for completing NMDS-SC for compliance with the WDF guide.

For guidance on completing or refreshing your NMDS-SC in order to meet these requirements and claim funding download How to complete NMDS-SC in order to claim WDF

Checking your account meets the requirements

We have reports to support employers with completing their NMDS-SC and showing whether their account meets the requirements for claiming WDF. Access our guidance for these reports. 

Your lead partner will be able to provide more guidance about the amount of funding you may be able to apply for and timescales for applying.

How do I make a claim?

To claim WDF you need to supply evidence of the completed qualification units.

You can use our qualification unit summary sheet template* for this; or an alternative, such as a student report form from your learning provider, as long as it captures the same information as the unit summary sheet.

If a candidate is completing multiple units and these will be claimed together you may prefer to do this via our qualification multiple unit summary sheet*.

If you don’t have a unit summary sheet a copy of the learner's certificate with a summary of the units completed will be accepted as evidence of unit completion.

Certificates must contain the following information:

  • candidate name
  • candidate registration number
  • unique learner number
  • our unit code as per the acceptable units list (our unit codes will need to be written on, if the awarding organisation uses different codes)
  • name of units completed
  • the date of issue of the certificate must fall within our advertised dates for the funding year, so 1 January 2016 - 31 March 2017 for 16/17
  • name of the awarding organisation
  • name of the learning provider or centre number.

You must complete a WDF employer claim submission form, or equivalent supplied by your partnership, and send it to your partnership with all of your unit summary sheets or certificates. Your partnership will send them to Skills for Care who will verify the claim and if successful, pay the money directly to the partnership, who will then pay you. 

You’re responsible for maintaining a clear audit trail of funding received and spent and must be able to confirm details of learning and development funded through WDF if required so we recommend you retain copies of the evidence for your records. 

*Interactive versions of the unit summary and multiple unit summary sheet templates are available here. This allows you to choose the unit code from the drop down list which then prepopulates the associated unit name and credit value in correct field.

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