The Workforce Development Fund (WDF) is funding from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) disseminated by Skills for Care. It supports the provision of high quality care and the continuing professional development (CPD) of staff across the adult social care sector by providing a contribution towards the costs of vocational learning. The fund allows you to claim back money towards the costs of workers completing a broad range of adult social care qualifications, learning programmes and digital learning modules.
Our WDF 2018-19 key statistics shows who claimed the money from the Workforce Development Fund (WDF) in 2018-19 and what they claimed for.
An independent evaluation of the funding found that employers who contributed to the evaluation said that the quality of care they provide has improved as a direct consequence of the WDF.
Employers also reported that they can more effectively meet the specialist or personalised needs of the people who receive their care and support, that the WDF has helped them to address skills gaps and that staff morale has improved.
To access the 2020-21 WDF you must complete and submit a declaration form before 26 February 2021 and claims must be submitted to Skills for Care by 31 May 2021 to access the fund.
Please note: to make a claim your ASC-WDS account needs to be updated in line with WDF requirements by 17:00 on 31 March 2021.
Key sector priorities for the WDF 2020-21
In 2020-21 the WDF will respond to key sector priorities including:
- Funding to support new managers, existing managers, deputies and aspiring managers
Investing in managers represents an investment in their services, their staff and the quality of care they provide. Enhanced funding is available for completion of leadership and management qualifications, learning programmes and digital learning modules.
See guidance and support on developing new managers and deputies.
- Enhanced funding per learner for completion of the listed apprenticeship standards
Employers can claim funding in two stages for learners on the Adult Care Worker, Lead Adult Care Worker, Lead Practitioner in Adult Care and Leader in Adult Care apprenticeship standards – upon completion of the diploma and after the end-point assessment has been passed.
What can be funded?
You can claim funding towards the cost of listed qualifications, learning programmes and digital learning modules. This includes money towards the cost of course fees (or employer contributions) and associated costs such as:
- employees’ salaries whilst they are undertaking training
- coaching and mentoring costs
- venue costs for the training
- wage replacement costs.
All costs must be incurred before WDF is claimed and employers must ensure they have records in place to evidence the costs of any funding claim they make. The date of issue of the learner’s certificate must be between 1 January 2020 and 31 May 2021 for any claims made.
View the list of funded qualifications and learning programmes
Can I claim funding for apprenticeships?
Yes, you can claim money from the WDF for learners completing the Adult Care Worker, Lead Adult Care Worker, Lead Practitioner in Adult Care and Leader in Adult Care apprenticeship standards. What you can claim for is different depending on whether you are a levy paying or non-levy paying employer.
- I'm a levy payer, what can I claim for?
As a levy paying employer, you’ll use your levy pot to pay for the training and end-point assessment costs of the apprenticeship (up to the Government apprenticeship cap) – you can't claim WDF for this.
You can claim WDF towards any other associated costs of the apprenticeship up to our advertised funding value. For example, the learner is required to complete 20% off-the-job learning to fulfil the criteria of the apprenticeship, WDF can be used to cover wage replacement costs (if required).
- I’m a non-levy payer, what can I claim for?
As a non-levy payer, the Government will contribute 95% of the training and assessment costs, up to the Government apprenticeship cap, and you can’t claim WDF for this. The remaining 5% and any additional cost will be met by you, the employer – you can claim WDF towards this cost.
You can also claim WDF towards any other associated costs of the apprenticeship, up to our advertised funding value. For example, the learner is required to complete 20% off-the-job learning to fulfil the criteria of the apprenticeship, WDF can be used to cover wage replacement costs (if required).
Engaging with End-point Assessment Organisations (EPAO)
All employers of apprentices need to engage the services of an EPAO to deliver the end-point assessment to their apprentices. Early engagement with the EPAO significantly increases the chances of a successful outcome for the apprentice. We've created a leaflet to help employers with the process.
⇨ View the leaflet
How can I apply?
There are two application routes to access the WDF which depends on where you’re located. Through both routes you will be required to complete and submit a declaration form before 26 February 2021 and claims must be submitted to Skills for Care by 31 May 2021 to access the fund.
Apply through an employer-led partnership
If you’re not in one of the advertised local authority areas you should join and apply through a partnership.
An employer-led partnership is a collection of adult social care employers who come together to ‘pool’ their workforce development needs and potentially commission training to collectively meet those needs. All partnerships are open to new members to join until 26 February 2021 and will provide help to access the WDF.
⇨ Find out how to claim funding through an employer-led partnership
Apply directly to Skills for Care
If you’re in one of the advertised local authority areas you’ll apply directly to us:
|London and the South East
||North Central London, North West London, North East London, Hampshire
||Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire
||Part of Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cumbria
|Yorkshire and Humber and the North East
||Northumberland, Tees Valley, South Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire, East Riding of Yorkshire including Hull
⇨ See the list of advertised local authority areas
⇨ Find out how to claim funding directly from Skills for Care
What if we already receive funding?
Employers can claim from more than one source of public funding but you must ensure that you aren’t claiming the same cost from more than one source. For example, if the course fee has been covered from one source of public funding, or paid for by the apprenticeship levy, it can’t be claimed via the WDF.
Choosing a learning provider
Employers have free choice in choosing a learning provider to deliver learning and development to their staff. The lead organisation for a WDF partnership may have a training arm but they can't make it a requirement for employers, who are accessing their training provision, to join their WDF partnership or for members to use their training provision. This represents a conflict of interests and is expressly forbidden.
You can use our endorsed provider directory to find a learning provider. Skills for Care endorsement is a mark of quality given to the best learning and development in the adult social care sector.
Please note: in most cases learning providers can’t promise ‘free’ training funded by the WDF. All WDF claims are made by the employer to Skills for Care or by the employer through their partnership.
You can find more information the eligibility criteria for the WDF and your responsibilities as an employer here:
⇨ Eligibility criteria
Essential training support in response to COVID-19
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is supporting the sector by funding rapid induction for newly recruited workers, volunteers’ induction and essential refresher training for existing staff. This training is being delivered by twelve of our endorsed providers and being funded by the Workforce Development Fund (WDF). More information about this training is here.