The Workforce Development Fund is a scheme that can help towards the cost of training your employees. You have until 31st May 2019 to make a claim under the current Workforce Development Fund, however there is a new fund for 2019/2020, which will open for applications soon.
In this article, we’ll explain how the Workforce Development Fund can help your business. We’ve also explained what the fund is all about, in case you haven’t heard of it.
What You Need to Know –
Before we talk about the benefits of the Workforce Development Fund, we’ve included this section to give you some information about how it works. It’s a limited fund that is designed to help UK care employers towards the costs of developing adult social care employees.
The new Workforce Development Fund 2019/2020 has some key changes. It will provide additional support to new managers, existing managers, deputies and aspiring managers. There is also enhanced funding available upon successful completion of leadership and management qualifications and learning programmes and for adult care workers who complete apprenticeship standards qualifications.
Applications are not yet open for the 2019/2020. However, when they are, it’s important that organisations must meet the Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS) requirements for WDF.
You can claim WDF towards the actual course fees, as well as associated costs like employee salaries, coaching and mentoring costs, and venue costs. The size of the WDF contribution depends on the size of the qualification or learning programme, and they are funded based on the value that is advertised on completion of the course. Your business can claim a maximum of up to £1,500 per learner.
How Can Workforce Development Funding Help Your Business?
It Improves the Quality of Your Workforce
This might sound obvious, but Workforce Development Funding can help you develop your workforce. As Richard Branson famously said: “Client’s do not come first, employees come first.” The people that work for your business are at the heart of everything you do, especially in the adult social care industry. Providing them with access to qualifications and learning programmes will make them better at doing their job. They will develop technical skills and knowledge, and eventually learn to supervise and manage in their job role – which leads us nicely onto the next benefit.
It Makes Your Employees Promotable
One of the most attractive things about working in adult social care is the opportunity for promotion. There is a clear path to becoming a registered care manager or deputy care manager, and a lot of employees will be looking to follow it. As social care business, it’s important to provide the opportunity for employees to get qualified and climb the ladder – and the Workforce Development Fund is there to help you do it.
It’s More Cost-Effective Than Recruitment
A lot of social care businesses will look to recruit qualified staff, rather than helping their current staff get qualified. That’s because it’s often quicker and there are times when positions need to be filled within a short time-frame. The only problem is that recruitment is expensive. It’s much more sustainable to provide access to qualifications and learning programmes to your current staff, instead of looking elsewhere to fill gaps.
The only downside of providing this access is that your employees might get qualified and then move on to another company.
It Gives Your Employees Another Reason to Stay
As we just said, it’s possible that you could pay for your staff to get qualified, for them to move to another company. That’s just part of running a business – think of it as a calculated risk. Why is the risk worth it? Because you’re actually providing your staff with a reason to stay. Lack of opportunity is one of the main reasons that employees leave a company. If they feel like their career is stagnating, they’re going to look elsewhere for opportunities.
Of course, there are all sorts of reasons that an employee might want to leave, and we can’t cover them all in this article. But helping your staff get qualified is a great way of motivating them to stay.
It Helps Motivate Your Employees
Speaking of motivation, it’s worth mentioning the power of qualifications and learning programmes in keeping your staff interested and passionate about their work. Everyone working in the social care industry knows how important it is to keep the mind active and set goals. That’s not just important for people who have care and support needs, it’s also important for carers.
By providing your employees with access to knowledge and technical skills, you are motivating them to improve themselves.
It Helps You Attract (And Keep) New Employees
Workforce Development Funding is not only helpful to your current employees, but it can also help you attract new ones. One of the most important aspects of growing a business is access to high-quality staff. Promoting the fact that you can provide access to qualifications and learning programmes might be the factor that sets you apart from your competitors and attracts the best staff to your business.
Use Funds to Improve Other Aspects of Your Business
The best thing about Workforce Development Funding is that it’s free money. There aren’t many of these opportunities in the business world, so you should take it whilst it’s available. Your business can claim a maximum of £1,500 per learner. That could amount to an impressive saving if you use the funding effectively. This money could then be redirected to improve other aspects of your business.
The money your business saves could be spent on new equipment, marketing, premises, or employees. Which, in turn, could be used to grow your business. It’s useful for any social care business, but it’s especially useful for new businesses that are trying to establish themselves.
Give Your Business an Edge Over Competitors
To be successful in any industry, it’s important to have an edge over your competitors. We’ve already talked about how the effective use of the Workforce Development Fund can help attract new employees and redirect funds to other parts of your business. But it can also help in other ways such as securing public sector contracts.
In short, developing your workforce will give your business an advantage over the competition and Workforce Development Funding is a useful resource to make this process more affordable.