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Workforce Development Fund

The Workforce Development Fund (WDF) is funding from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) disseminated by Ƶ.

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 paid staff completing a broad range of adult social care qualifications, learning programmes and digital learning modules. 

To claim funding, an organisation must provide an adult social care service and directly employ paid care staff within England.

The Workforce Development Fund (WDF) can be used to support the development of individuals who have been recruited from abroad and those who are working on a Health and Social Care Visa.

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Further information on the Workforce Development Fund, including finding out if you’re are eligible to apply, how to access the fund and the priorities for 2023-24.


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Our  key statistics shows who claimed the money from the Workforce Development Fund in 2022-23 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 Workforce Development Fund.

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 Workforce Development Fund has helped them to address skills gaps and that staff morale has improved.


What can be funded

You can claim up to £2,000 per learner per funding year through the Workforce Development Fund. You can claim funding for the same learner in multiple funding years, to support their personal development and career progression.

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 or wage replacement costs.


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Find out which qualifications, learning programmes and digital learning modules can be funded through Workforce Development Fund.


All of the courses in the WDF list of qualifications and learning will be funded during the 2023-24 financial year. The government is also due to launch a new fund for training and professional development to support members of the adult social care workforce to develop in their roles and progress in their careers, as outlined in the ‘ published in April. Some courses may be removed from the WDF when this new fund launches as new learners will have the opportunity to claim for training costs through the new fund. Please note, any learners enrolled in eligible learning prior to the new fund being launched will remain eligible for and receive support through the WDF.



There are two application routes to access the WDF which depends on where you’re located. Through both routes you must sign up before 29 February 2024, and claims must be submitted to Ƶ by 31 May 2024 to access the fund.


Claim directly from Ƶ

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 directly from Ƶ.



Claim funding through a 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 29 February 2024 and will provide help to access the WDF.

Find out how to claim funding through a partnership


Application deadline

To benefit from the 2023-24 WDF you must:

  • complete/submit a declaration form before 29 February 2024
  • ensure your Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS) account meets WDF requirements by 28 March 2024
  • claims must be submitted to Ƶ by 31 May 2024.


Further information

In 2023-24 WDF will continue to provide additional support to registered managers and frontline managers as this is key to providing quality care and supporting the workforce. Enhanced funding will continue to be available for the completion of leadership and management qualifications, learning programmes and digital learning modules.

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. 

Download the leaflet to help with the process.

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.

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. Ƶ endorsement is a mark of quality given to the best learning and development in the adult social care sector.

Please note: learning providers can’t promise ‘free’ training funded by the WDF. All WDF claims are made by the employer to Ƶ or by the employer through their partnership. 

Dowload the eligibility criteria for the WDF and your responsibilities as an employer.