About the National Workforce Skills Development Unit

The National Workforce Skills Development Unit was established in April 2017 by Health Education England (HEE) in collaboration with the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. 

The Unit sits alongside the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust’s education portfolio and performs at a strategic national level working with key partner agents to advise and develop the education infrastructure, education delivery mechanism, and education competencies, necessary to improve mental health services for clients / patients throughout England.  The unit develops strategic initiatives to enhance mental health capability across the healthcare system. This meets the requirements of the Five year forward view[1] and the Five year forward view for mental health[2].

The unit works through networks, collaborations and partnerships. It broadens its expertise 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 various geographic and demographic services. The Unit facilitates the development of mental health and learning disabilities workforce while supporting the mental health and wellbeing of health and care staff. In doing so, it delivers projects with a national focus on workforce issues, engaging with stakeholders to achieve transformation strategy to support services delivering the care and treatment to meet individual, family and community need.

The unit has an internal and external project governance structure. Internally, the Unit is organised using a programme management office responsible for managing the delivery of the portfolio of projects. It is accountable through the Director of Nursing, as Senior Responsible Officer. The Unit is overseen by a Programme Delivery Committee which reports to the Trust Board Level Education and Training Committee, and through that, to the Trust Board. Each project has an internal project advisor to ensure that the Tavistock and Portman approaches are applied to the project. Externally, the work programme for the Unit is agreed each year via the National Workforce Skills Development Unit Steering Group led by HEE. The Steering group is composed of HEE National Mental Health Learning Disability and Dementia programme staff, national training contract manager at HEE, and representatives from the Unit team at Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.



[1] NHS Five year forward view, https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/5yfv-web.pdf

[2] Five year forward view for mental health, https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Mental-Health-Taskforce-FYFV-final.pdf