Workforce Development Fund

What is the 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 and learning programmes.

How we can help you

wdf info graphic

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. 

A recent 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.

Application Deadline

To access the 2019-20 WDF you must complete and submit a declaration form before 28 February 2020 and claims must be submitted to Skills for Care by 29 May 2020 to access the fund.

In 2019-20 the WDF will respond to key sector priorities including:

  • £3 million of targeted 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 and learning programmes and new CPD programmes are now available.

    Click here for guidance and support on developing new managers and deputies.

  • Enhanced funding per learner for completion of the adult care worker and lead adult care worker apprenticeship standards

    Employers can claim funding in two stages for learners on the Adult Care Worker and Lead Adult Care Worker apprenticeship standards – upon completion of the diploma and after the end-point assessment has been passed.

You can claim funding towards the cost of qualifications and learning programmes completed between 1 January 2019 and the 29 May 2020. 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 that they have records in place to evidence the costs of any funding claim they make.

View the list of funded qualifications and learning programmes

Yes, you can claim money from the WDF for learners completing the Adult Care Worker or Leader Adult Care Worker 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. Click here to view the leaflet.


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 2020 and claims must be submitted to Skills for Care by 29 May 2020 to access the fund.

Apply directly to Skills for Care

If you’re in one of the advertised local authority areas you’ll apply directly to us. Localities at a glance:





London and the South East

North Central London, North West London, North East London, Hampshire


Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire

North West

Part of Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cumbria

South West

Gloucestershire, Somerset

Yorkshire and Humber and the North East

Northumberland, Durham, Tees Valley, South Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire, East Riding of Yorkshire

View the detailed list of advertised local authority areas.

Find out how to apply directly to Skills for Care

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 28 February 2020 and will provide help to access the WDF.

Find out how to apply through an employer-led partnership




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 cannot be claimed via WDF. 

Employers have free choice in choosing a learning provider to deliver learning and development to their staff. In some cases 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.

Skills for Care Endorsement is a mark of quality given to the best learning and development in the adult social care sector. You can use our endorsed provider directory to find a learning provider.

Please note: in most cases learning providers can’t promise ‘free’ training funded by the WDF. However, some endorsed providers may take advantage of the licenced programme incentive initiative and be able to offer fully funded or heavily subsidised places on the Lead to Succeed, Well-led or registered manager CPD programmes. Normally any WDF claim is 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


Find out how the WDF has helped others