oliver2 It is estimated half a million people in the UK are living with Autism. 

We estimate that over half a million adult social care workers support people who are living with a learning disability and/or autistic people in England. 

It's vital that these workers have the right values, skills and knowledge to provide high quality, person-centred care and support.  

We’ve worked with the National Autistic Society and Skills for Health to develop resources to help you ensure that your staff have the right skills and knowledge when working with autistic people.

Our resources explain what skills and knowledge workers need to support autistic people, their carers and families, and can help employers to develop their workforce. 

We also facilitate an 'Expert group of people with a learning disability and autistic people' to support this work. Find out more about the group, including how to join, below. 

Keep up to date

There's lots of work happening, nationally and locally, to develop and support the learning disability and/or autism workforce. Register to receive updates by creating an account on the Skills for Care website, and selecting the ‘Learning disability and/or autism’ option under the ‘Areas of interest’ section. 

If you already have an account, login and click on 'Update your contact preferences' under the 'Manage account settings' box. You can then select the ‘Learning disability and/or autism’ option under the ‘Areas of interest’ section. 

Read the latest newsletters here. 

Update on Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training in Learning Disability and Autism - trials 2020

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Health Education England (HEE), Skills for Care and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) decided to extend the deadline for tenders for trial and evaluation partners for the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training to Friday 24 April at 18:00. This was communicated on 18 March, to those who had expressed an interest in bidding.

The delay of one month extends the time existing bidders had left to submit from 7 to 26 working days. 

Once the tenders have been awarded, we will negotiate the timeline for delivery with partners, recognising the extraordinary demands on health and care services at this time.

Therefore, health and care services can focus on dealing with the current pandemic, and potential bidders can decide whether to proceed with this opportunity.

We remain committed to our work on Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training, which is essential to ensure the health and wellbeing of people with a learning disability and autistic people. 

We will continue to monitor the emerging situation.The Invitation to Tender was open in February/March 2020 and the deadline to express your interest has now passed.

If you expressed your interest by Thursday 5 March 2020 via the ‘Supplying to the NHS Portal’, you must submit your response by Friday 24 April 2020 at 18.00.

After that, an expert panel will review all submissions and respond.

The Core Capabilities Framework for Supporting Autistic People (Nov 2019) sets out the skills and knowledge that health and social care workers need to deliver high-quality care and support for autistic people. 

You can use it to support the development and planning of the workforce, and to inform the design and delivery of education and training programmes. 

Skills for Care was involved in developing the framework in 2019. 

  • Download the framework here. 
  • Download the Easy Read version here. 
  • Download a summary briefing paper here. 

Our Autism awareness learning resources lists training materials that have been developed by a range of organisations in the sector. The materials can help you to increase awareness and understanding of autism, so that your workforce better recognise and respond to the needs of autistic people.

Here are some other resources we've developed. 

  • How to do a great assessment for someone who has autism will be useful for social workers, community care assessors, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and other health professionals, including those who are working to assess people for benefit claims. It will provide these workers with the knowledge to undertake assessments with autistic people. 
  • How to be a great autistic individual employer is for autistic individual employers who are employing a personal assistant(s) for themselves or on behalf of an autistic person.
  • How to be a great personal assistant for someone with autism is for personal assistants who are providing care and support for an autistic person.



Everyone has the right to have meaningful personal relationships, including people with learning disabilities and/ or autistic people.

It’s vital that adult social care workers have the right values, skills and knowledge to support people with personal relationships – and training is a vital part of this.

This guidance helps employers to think about how they can develop their staff through training. It explains what workers need to know and understand about personal relationships, and how you can create a workforce development programme. 

This research report (published in December 2018) explores the adult social care workforce supporting people with learning disabilities and/or autistic people, using data from the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care. 

Here are some of the key findings. 

  • There were an estimated 665,000 jobs in the learning disabilities and/or autism workforce. 
  • 57,600 workers were in the local authority sector and 575,000 were in the independent sector. 

Download the full report.