The spotlight is increasingly on all care homes, including those catering specifically for older people, to deliver on quality targets in an attempt to drive up the standards of care provision. These targets include the education, training and supervision of care staff. Representing a major component of the care staff workforce in care homes are healthcare assistants and they play a key role in care provision and will continue so to do. However, pivotal to their effective role performance is preparation and support - the provision of which has been patchy to date. For care homes that provide nursing care the challenges of delivering on these targets by 2005 are significant, particularly as the majority of these homes are run as private enterprises and in the absence of any form of central funding. This article examines key issues to education and training provision. A strategic nationwide approach to education and training for healthcare assistants in care homes is recommended, coupled with robust evaluation of outcomes. Such initiatives will need to be supported by significant financial investment if the Government's targets are to be achieved.