National Workforce Skills Development Unit (NWSDU)

The National Workforce Skills Development Unit, commissioned by Health Education England (HEE), has been established to meet the workforce challenges of the changing nature of mental health services and to better support the Five Year Forward View and Stepping Forward to 2020/21 the Mental Health Workforce Plan for England.

Staff discussing ideas in conference room

Our mission

The mission of the Unit is to support and facilitate the development of the mental health and learning disabilities workforce while supporting the mental health and wellbeing of health and care staff.


Here at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust we have a long-standing relationship with HEE for the provision of education and training for mental health. This has taken the shape of a national training contract for mental health. As part of this contract, the Unit has been established to support the delivery of HEE’s strategic objectives for workforce development and transformation.

The Unit went live in April 2017 and has commenced activity on an array of mental health workforce projects as agreed with HEE. The Unit works collaboratively with experts in the field of healthcare, training, and education and is evolving capacity to develop conceptual frameworks, facilitated discussion and solutions to identified workforce issues in a way that is informed by individual, organisational, and systemic psychological perspectives. A key benefit of this is the ability of the Unit to negotiate and conceptualise challenging problems with competing perspectives and viewpoints.

The Unit broadens the reach, depth, breadth, and geography of expertise available to HEE by linking to the National Mental Health Workforce Development Collaborative. This is a voluntary collaboration of seven Mental Health Trusts representing all NHS England / HEE regions and a variety of urban and rural geography, demography and range of services provided. The partner Trusts have agreed to support the delivery of the Unit’s work-plan as part of the Collaborative’s own work-plan.

Current projects

Our portfolio for 2017/18 is:

  • Perinatal Mental Health
  • Enhancing Management of Psychological Distress and Promoting Systemic Resilience
  • Primary care mental health
  • Children and Young People with Learning Disability and Complex Mental Health Conditions Transforming Care Workforce
  • Children and Young People Expressing Harmful Sexual Behaviours
  • Managing Frequent Attenders (E-learning module)

Read more about our current projects.

Team members

Chris Caldwell, Director

Ian J Tegerdine, Associate Director

Rob Hardy, Senior Programme Lead

Joanna Daci, Programme Operations Manager

Laurence Bickerton, Project Manager

Juliane Läng, Project Manager

Contact us

workforce@tavi-port.nhs.uk

0208 938 2091


Recent products

'Mental health services in England: workforce, policy and practice issues'

A report by the Centre for Mental Health of the current policy landscape for mental health services in England and its implications for the workforce.

Current NWSDU projects

Current NWSDU projects

The National Workforce Skills Development Unit (the Unit) has commenced activity on an array of projects, aiming to deliver educational mechanisms...

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