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Skills for Care has announced that this year’s Workforce Development Fund (WDF) is now open. 

The fund, which Skills for Care distributes on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), can be used by adult social care employers in England to support the development of their staff at all levels, offering funding for a wide range of qualifications, learning programmes and digital learning modules.

The funding was used to support over 14,000 employees in 2020-21. Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications for staff comprised over two thirds of the learning claimed. The most popular topic supported by the funding was leadership and management.

How can WDF be used by social care employers?

This year 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 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Certification, ensuring that they’re able to access learning opportunities to continue to develop their knowledge and skills to effectively lead and support the workforce.

Using WDF to support apprenticeships

Skills for Care is always keen to hear of innovative ways in which social care employers are using the funding, and a recent experience from one social provider showed how the funding can be used to support apprenticeships.

Skills for Care spoke with Voyage Care, a large national provider, who told them how the WDF had helped them to manage their apprenticeships.

An important component of apprenticeships is that all apprentices must complete 20% off-the-job training. This can sometimes be challenging. 

For Voyage Care, using the WDF has helped them to achieve this, as they’ve been able to claim back a portion of apprentices’ wages for time spent off-the-job.

This means they can support apprentices in meeting their learning requirements and utilise the skills gained from off-the-job training, but the funding contributes to the costs of this time when apprentices are not on-site working.

Voyage Care told Skills for Care that utilising the WDF to contribute to the cost of apprentices’ time spent on off-the-job training, has highlighted to everyone the importance and benefit of investing employees’ time in learning and development to develop a better-skilled workforce, which helps to improve the quality of care and support and increase employee retention and engagement.

Benefits of using WDF

An independent evaluation of the funding found it has brought many positive impacts for social care employers, their staff, and the people they support.

Employers surveyed said that the quality of care they provide has improved as a direct consequence of the WDF, and that they can more effectively meet the specialist or personalised needs of the people who receive their care and support. 

They also report that the WDF has helped them to address skills gaps within their teams and that staff morale has improved. 

Find out more 

WDF allows employers to claim back money towards the costs of workers completing a broad range of adult social care qualifications, learning programmes and digital learning modules.

You can view the full list of funded qualifications, learning programmes and digital learning modules on the Skills for Care website.

Skills for Care’s WDF 2020-21 key statistics shows how the Workforce Development Fund (WDF) in 2020-21 was used.

For more information about the WDF and how to apply visit the website. The deadline for signing up to access the fund is 28th February 2022. 

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