Workforce Development Fund
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. Download our WDF leaflet for further information.
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.
Our WDF 2020-21 key statistics shows who claimed the money from the Workforce Development Fund (WDF) in 2020-21 and what they claimed for.
What can be funded
Claim funding towards the cost of listed qualifications, learning programmes and digital learning modules completed between 1 January 2021 and the 31 May 2022. 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 or 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.
View the list of funded qualifications and learning
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 28 February 2022 and claims must be submitted to Skills for Care by 31 May 2022 to access the fund.
- 1. Apply directly to Skills for Care
If you’re in one of our local authority areas you’ll apply directly to us. View the list of local authority areas. Find out how to claim funding directly from Skills for Care
- 2. Apply through an employer-led partnership
For those 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 28 February 2022 and will provide help to access the WDF. Find out how to claim funding through an employer-led partnership
To benefit from the 2021-22 WDF you must:
- complete/submit a declaration form before 28 February 2022
- ensure your Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS) account meets WDF requirements by 31 March 2022
- claims must be submitted to Skills for Care by 31 May 2022.
Key sector priorities for the WDF 2021-22
In 2021-22 the WDF will continue to provide enhanced funding for completion of leadership and management qualifications, learning programmes and digital learning modules. The funding will support registered managers and other frontline managers with their CPD, ensuring that they’re able to access learning opportunities to continue to develop their knowledge and skills to effectively lead and support the workforce.
Priorities may emerge during the year in response to COVID-19 recovery.
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 standard. 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.
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: