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The introduction of graduate primary care mental health workers (GMHWs) acknowledges the potential contribution to primary care mental health services of recent graduates. This paper describes the development and implementation of a training programme for GMHWs undertaken as part of a local pilot, and reflects on issues raised and lessons learned. These issues include the identification of core capabilities linked to pathway outcomes, built-in flexibility to meet the different needs of the GMHWs and services, the appropriate type and level of client work, methods of assessment including assessment in practice, links with practice supervision, service user involvement and recruitment and retention. This work has underlined the importance of a strategic partnership between education providers and primary care trusts to ensure that the capabilities developed in the training meet primary care service needs and that their roles are developed in an appropriate, supported service environment.