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Children and Young People’s Keyworkers

This new national training programme is being developed to provide a keyworker for all children and young people with a learning disability and autism, a commitment set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

The Children and Young People's keyworker programme is a four-year multi million pound investment by NHS England and NHS Improvement to provide keyworkers to support autistic children and young people and those with learning disabilities to leave mental health hospitals and access suitable support in communities.  HEE is supporting the delivery of this programme by developing training for keyworkers. This will provide keyworkers with a common set of skills ensuring they can help both autistic children and young people and children and young people with learning disabilities who have the most complex care needs.

The training covers the key topics needed for staff working across health, education, and care systems to develop highly personalised packages of support. It will also help to keep any children and young people with learning disabilities and autism who are at risk of being admitted to hospital, to stay in the community and access personalised support to meet their needs.

NHS England and NHS Improvement will be rolling out these new keyworking services over the coming three years with full coverage of the service across England expected by 2024.


e-Learning programme - launched September 2021

Working with Pathways Associates, we have co-developed a bespoke training package with young people and their families that will support the upskilling of the keyworkers to minimum standards. The e-learning programme can be accessed on the e-learning for healthcare platform.

The resource has been designed to help keyworkers chart the most beneficial path for their work with children, young people and families.  As the journey of keyworking develops, new knowledge and learning will shape future iterations of this programme for keyworkers.

There are 3 e-learning sessions:

  1. Foundations for Keyworking
  2. Human Rights Approaches
  3. Understanding the system

It is mandatory for all appointed keyworkers to complete this resource as part of their induction in addition to participating in local and national skills-based training programmes.


Keyworking function guidance

The Council for Disabled Children was commissioned by HEE to develop a Workforce Competency Framework and a Keyworking Function Guidance to support the set up and roll out of Keyworking pilots across the regions.

These documents have been designed through extensive consultation and co-production with key stakeholders including parents, young people, Learning Disability and Autism commissioners and service leads. The guidance is designed to support pilots in their planning, delivery and testing of the Learning Disability and Autism keyworker function. It will be refined on the basis of the pilot areas’ experience and evaluation.

The guidance and competency framework can be viewed on the Council for Disabled Children's website


Want to know more or get involved?

For more information on this programme contact learning.disability@hee.nhs.uk