Workforce Development Fund

A female care worker is sat with someone who needs care and support holding a pen 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.

You can download a leaflet which tells you what the Workforce Development Fund is, who it is for and how to apply for it.

How can I access funds?

Please note that all new applicants must complete a declaration form which must be submitted to Skills for Care by 28 February. If you are new applicant applying via a partnership, you must make sure that your declaration form has been sent to your relevant partnership in time for them to submit the form to Skills for Care by 28 February. 

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 either access funding directly from Skills for Care or through a national partnership if you prefer. Here are their contact details.
  • 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. Grants for 2016-17 have now been awarded and you can download a list of the successful organisations.

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.

If you would like to see a summary of how the Workforce Development Fund was used in 2015-16, an infographic is available to download. It may help you to identify the types of learning that you could claim funding for. There is also a 2014-15 infographic which gives a summary of how the Workforce Development Fund was used in 2014-15.

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.

You can download the infographic which visually shows the statistics and impact of the fund in 2014-15. 

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. 

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.


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.


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