Skills for Care

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) recently announced their plans to develop the adult social care workforce in England as part of ongoing reform work.

The announcement from DHSC includes details of an uplift to the Workforce Development Fund (WDF), which is for the remainder of the 2023-24 financial year. This will support the delivery of the government’s adult social care workforce reform objectives and provide an immediate boost to training for the frontline care workforce, by funding courses from the current WDF list of funded qualifications and learning.

The People at the Heart of Care white paper, published in December 2021, set out the government’s 10 year vision for adult social care and included a commitment to provide a funded learning and development offer.

In the Next Steps to put People at the Heart of Care, published in April 2023, the government confirmed that the funded training offer will include funding for:

  • a new level 2 adult social Care Certificate qualification, with the intention that over time this new qualification will become the baseline standard for all new care workers to work towards when they join the profession
  • learning and development, including training courses on healthcare interventions to support delegation, learning disabilities including autism, dementia care and leadership
  • continuing professional development for registered nurses and other eligible regulated professionals
  • digital skills training and development of a new leadership qualification based on the recently updated Digital Skills Framework (from Digital Social Care).


New fund

DHSC is planning a new learning and development fund for adult social care which will be claimed through a new digital service. The new fund will not be administered by Skills for Care but instead by NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA) on behalf of the DHSC.

Our understanding is that the structure of the new fund is different, allowing direct reimbursement payments to employers. Further details will be made available by DHSC in the spring. DHSC has set up an email address,, so please direct any queries about the changes to them.

DHSC will be working with Skills for Care to put transitional arrangements in place between the new fund and WDF. We will do everything we can to make this as smooth as possible. Funding claimed as part of the WDF will continue to be administered by Skills for Care.


WDF scaled down

The introduction of the new fund will have implications for the WDF which will be scaled down in 2024-25.

In 2024-25, it will only be possible to claim WDF for learning which is already in progress. This is to ensure that employers who have already paid for learning and development are not left out of pocket. New learning and development will be claimed through the new fund.

In 2024-25, all employers will claim directly from Skills for Care. There will be a tender opportunity for large national organisations to apply for WDF next year, with further details to be made available in due course via our enews.