In this paper we describe the development, piloting, refining and further testing of two training modules for people working in healthcare settings: first, a general module about cultural diversity, and secondly, a module focusing on cultural competence in facilitating the management of type 2 diabetes, including people of South Asian origin. After piloting, each module was delivered once in Leicester, Northampton and Derby, UK. This gave a total of six sessions, the impact of which was assessed using specifically developed pre- and post-training questionnaires and telephone interviews. Analysis of the questionnaires revealed positive short-term changes in knowledge, attitudes and confidence. Changes included higher levels of awareness of how health-care interactions are influenced by healthcare providers’ own culture and by their patients’ culture, and confidence in discussing insulin with people of South Asian origin (P < 0.01 in each case). The outcomes of the telephone interviews suggested that the module content was highly acceptable and relevant. Interview data highlighted specific examples of impact, including a broadened definition of culture and motivation to find out more about South Asian diets. Recruitment presented some challenges, particularly in relation to lack of available time among healthcare providers. Although our findings were encouraging, we also conclude that it is important to identify ways of incorporating this type of training into the work routines of busy healthcare providers.