Workforce Development Fund
The Workforce Development Fund supports the learning and development of adult social care workers in England.
Supporting you to develop your workers
We know there is a strong business case for investing in qualifications and the development of staff.
Our Workforce Development Fund (WDF) is available to support you to make that investment, which benefits your organisation, workforce and those who need care and support.
The fund enables you to reclaim a contribution towards your learning and development costs.
What is the Workforce Development Fund?
The WDF is a funding stream from the Department of Health which is disbursed by Skills for Care. It’s a limited pot of money which funds qualification units and supports the ongoing professional development of staff across adult social care in England.
The WDF can make a significant contribution towards the costs of workers completing health and social care qualifications, units and Apprenticeships.
Employers must directly incur costs for learning and development and can then access the WDF to reclaim a contribution towards these costs.
Who is it for?
The fund is for adult social care employers in England.
There is a separate fund for individual employers who employ their own personal assistants.
What can I reclaim?
In 2016-2017, WDF will pay a contribution of £15 per credit, with a maximum of 60 credits per learner per funding year. How much you can claim back will depend on the qualification, the units selected and how many credits make up those units.
For someone studying the Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care (Adults) (46 credits), you could claim up to £690 per funding year towards the total costs.
How can I access funds?
There are different ways you could access funds depending on your location.
- If you’re based in Northumberland, Durham, Tees Valley, North Central London, North West London, Bedfordshire, Hampshire, Coventry, Northamptonshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, or specified local authority areas within Greater Manchester you can access funding directly from Skills for Care.
- If you’re based in any other area of England, you can join an employer led partnership.
- If you’re a large national organisation (with over 1,000 workers and operate in two or more Skills for Care areas), you can apply for a grant from Skills for Care. Applications open annually, usually around February time. If you are awarded a funding allocation, you will claim your funding directly from Skills for Care.
How the fund has benefited others
In 2014-2015 the WDF funded over 190,000 qualification units for over 20,000 adult social care workers.
More than 90% of organisations who received funding said the quality of care had improved as a result. 85% of organisations also said the fund had helped to address the most pressing skills gaps amongst their staff.
Other benefits are fewer complaints, fewer safeguarding incidents and an improvement in staff retention.
You can see how others have used the WDF to develop the skills of their workers in the below case studies.
- Thorndene - see how the WDF has been used to maintain the standards and quality of service offered at this private residential care home.
- Rocklee Limited - see how the WDF has been used to develop and maintain the team’s professional development for the ultimate benefit of its residents.
- Hazelwell Lodge - see how the WDF has been used to address skill gaps and to improve access to higher level social care roles through specialist training, with the ultimate aim of providing residents with improved care.
- Crime Reduction Initiatives (CRI) - see how a national charity has used the WDF to support the development of its staff and volunteers and to contribute towards a stretched annual training budget.
- Creative Support - see how the WDF has been used to develop a national workforce that has experienced phenomenal growth over the last few years.
- Bluebird Care - see how the WDF has been used by a national provider to support the ongoing professional development of its staff to maintain and improve the quality of care and support.
How can you help if you’re a learning provider
If you’re a learning provider delivering units from our list of acceptable units 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 fully completed qualification unit summary sheet to enable the employer to claim the funding. You can use our template unit summary sheet or an equivalent as long as it contains the same information. Employers will not receive any funds without this.
Download our learning provider leaflet.
Useful information for grant holders of employer led partnerships or large national organisations
Employer led partnerships grant holders
If you're a grant holder for an employer led partnership responsible for the disbursal of the Workforce Development Fund (WDF) click here.
Large national organisation grant holders
If you're a grant holder for a large national organisation responsible for the disbursal of the Workforce Development Fund (WDF) within your organisation click here.