Qualifications from Level 2 to Level 5 designed for people wanting to work or who are already working with children or young people.

Perhaps you would like to work with children or young people in a less structured or formal setting than a school or nursery. You might like the idea of working in after school or holiday clubs, adventure playgrounds or youth groups that encourage children and young people to challenge themselves through play - enabling them to learn about risk in a safe yet stimulating environment.

Play allows children and young people to learn and develop as individuals without external pressures or influences. If this field of work appeals to you then these are the qualifications you need to consider taking.

Developed specifically for people working or wishing to work with children and young people in playwork settings throughout the UK, they are designed by playwork experts to provide the skills and knowledge that everyone who works in play is expected to have.

Playwork Principles

1. All children and young people need to play. The impulse to play is innate. Play is a biological, psychological and social necessity, and is fundamental to the healthy development and well-being of individuals and communities.

2. Play is a process that is freely chosen, personally directed and intrinsically motivated. That is, children and young people determine and control the content and intent of their play, by following their own instincts, ideas and interests, in their own way for their own reasons.

3. The prime focus and essence of playwork is to support and facilitate the play process and this should inform the development of play policy, strategy, training and education.

4. For playworkers, the play process takes precedence and playworkers act as advocates for play when engaging with adult led agendas.

5. The role of the playworker is to support all children and young people in the creation of a space in which they can play.

6. The playworker's response to children and young people playing is based on a sound up to date knowledge of the play process, and reflective practice.

7. Playworkers recognise their own impact on the play space and also the impact of children and young people’s play on the playworker.

8. Playworkers choose an intervention style that enables children and young people to extend their play. All playworker intervention must balance risk with the developmental benefit and well being of children.

So where can Playworkers work and in what roles?

Playworkers can work in a wide range of environments including:

  • After School Clubs
  • Adventure Playgrounds
  • Soft Play Areas
  • Family Centres
  • Holiday Clubs

Play Development Officers - may work for local authorities managing, implementing and monitoring a local Play Strategy.

Playwork qualified Youth Workers - could be part of a team running environmental projects, residential activities or outdoor education.

Higher level qualifications can lead to careers such as Playwork Development Officer and Supervisor or Manager of any playwork provision setting.

The Skills Active website will provide you with more detailed information about the sector.