The Workforce Development Fund (WDF) 2020-21 is now open to adult social care employers in England to support the development of their staff at all levels.
The WDF supplies funding for various qualifications, learning programmes and digital learning modules. Distributed by Skills for Care on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care, the WDF helped 2,795 establishments support 14,441 learners in 2018-19.
Research published by Skills for Care in November 2019 shows that employers report many and varying benefits from the fund. These include having a more skilled team of workers, better morale amongst staff and improvements in quality of care. One funding lead reported, 'Employers in our partnership are always telling me about the positives [resulting from training accessed via the WDF]. So better CQC rating is one, because they have better trained staff who are providing better quality care.'
Employers who have accessed the fund in the past also say that they have reviewed and refined their approaches to workforce development and continuing professional development (CPD). One training provider reported, 'The WDF is so impactful for CPD in the sector. It has a big impact on employers’ views, attitudes and approaches to training.'
The Workforce Development Fund 2020-21 will continue to focus on key sector priorities which includes enhanced funding for completion of leadership and management qualifications, learning programmes and digital learning modules. It is widely acknowledged that investing in managers represents an investment in services, their staff and the quality of the care they provide, and that an effective, well-supported manager has the biggest influence on the overall quality of care provided.
Employers can also claim enhanced funding for four listed apprenticeship standards:
- Adult Care Worker.
- Lead Adult Care Worker.
- Lead Practitioner in Adult Care.
- Leader in Adult Care.
Skills for Care Chief Executive, Oonagh Smyth, said, 'The WDF is an important source of funding to employers to support the learning and development needs of their workforce, as they deal with the added pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic, with budgets stretched further than ever before.
'The enhanced funding for leadership and management will help the sector prepare to meet future needs, to effectively support the workforce and make sure people can access high quality care and support.'