To learn more about the work of PlayBoard Northern Ireland visit their website.
SkillsActive currently facilitates the Playwork Education and Training Council Northern Ireland (PETC NI) .
Our role is to ensure the full involvement of Northern Ireland employers in the sector at a UK level, and you can find out more about our work on the Northern Ireland pages or contact SkillsActive in Northern Ireland.
View a short video, 'A Skilled and Qualified Workforce’ about playwork in Northern Ireland.
Our national committees and structure ensure that our UK-wide remit applies to all of the home nations. Further information on current work in each of the nations can be found by following the links below.
For information on SkillsActive's playwork activities in England, please browse the options within the playwork section of this site.
SkillsActive’s role is to improve the quality and range of play opportunities for children and young people through the professional development of the playwork workforce across the UK – providing those with jobs working with children with training and development resources and opportunities.
Playworker jobs with children can be found in a range of settings, including:
Play rangers work with children in parks and open spaces and, in some areas, playworkers can be found in schools.
Our vision is "A skilled, qualified and developing play workforce, whose practice is underpinned by the Playwork Principles, who provide high quality, accessible play opportunities for children and young people". Find out more about our strategy for 2011 - 2016.
We offer a coordinated voice for the ‘working with children’ sector, which is reflected in a coherent and research based demand for skills, and we work with training providers to meet the skills and training needs of the sector.
Professional, well-trained playworkers are a key part of the children’s workforce and we work to influence education and skills policies across the four nations, ensuring their relevance to the sector. We also work to advise government on how to prioritise its funding to help those with jobs working with children.
SkillsActive is supporting Play England's Love Outdoor Play campaign which is calling on everyone to Love Outdoor Play in whatever way they can. This could be as simple as taking five minutes to map their local play space on the online map, signing up to regularly give money, time or skills to a local play project, or finding out about local – or national – volunteering opportunities to help more children play outside more often.
You can show that you Love Outdoor Play now by:
Love Outdoor Play was launched by The Geography Collective in 2010 to increase and improve outdoor play. Play England now leads the campaign with a new focus to reach the original aim – making sure more children can play out more often by increasing social action for children's play.
Download the full suite as a zip file or individual units below.
Play is a crucial part of a child's life. It provides the stage on which children act out their fears and joys, learn to develop socially and emotionally, and explore and expand their physical abilities.
Playworkers support this process for school-age children by providing a safe atmosphere and the right resources that enable children to engage each other and develop within. This covers a wide range of play behaviours, in settings that include:
The existence of staffed play provision can reassure parents that their child is safe, while allowing children to absorb themselves in undisturbed play and to undertake challenges not otherwise available to them.
Playwork contains a high proportion of volunteers and part-time workers, and brings its own unique skills and training needs. The National Skills Academy provides a one-stop shop for employers and playworkers by bringing together quality-assured training providers and funders who can give support for training delivery.
In the foreseeable future, the National Skills Academy will offer playworkers easy access to information on a range of training opportunities, news and events in the sector, and useful guidance on qualifications and careers. In the meantime, please contact the SkillsActive playwork team.
Playwork's profile amongst staff, according to the service's divisional community development manager.
The AWS provides a professional and confidential welfare support service for servicemen and women and their families. The AWS's Community Support team provides learning and personal development opportunities through a range of planned programmes, activities and experiences for military personnel and their families including pre-school groups, after-school clubs and holiday provision.
Divisional community development manager Liz Harford is responsible for overseeing training for the 120 play, youth and community workers working across military bases in Britain, Brunei and Germany.
Liz says the AWS had always carried out playwork activity as part of its youth and community provision, but it hadn't made the leap to recognising it with separate skills training.
"We realised there was a natural qualification gap within our organisation."
Knowing SkillsActive was the sector skills council for playwork, Liz contacted the Midlands Playwork strategy manager who visited the barracks in Shrewsbury in March 2010. The two discussed the service AWS was providing and possible Playwork training options for the AWS workforce.
Liz said: "We discussed qualifying our staff at Level 2 in Playwork, but then decided to train them at level 3 (NVQ or the transitional award) because all of them were experienced and capable of achieving a qualification at this level,"
The Playwork strategy manager also recommended a reliable training provider from SkillsActive's approved provider network, and brokered training subsidies for 45 staff using funding supplied through the level 3 playwork initiative administered by Children's' Workforce Development Council (this funding programme is no longer available).
Liz said 45 staff will have completed their Level 3 NVQ Playwork by the end of March 2011. Following the success of this initiative, SkillsActive and AWS are now working together to source future funded opportunities for AWS learners undertaking a qualification.
"Working in partnership with SkillsActive has saved the AWS £78,000 in training costs. This can now be redirected to developing the service and providing sufficient materials for staff, families and children and young people."
Liz said SkillsActive has helped the AWS professionalise its playwork workforce, which directly benefitted their customers - our military's children.
"Our staff now recognise the difference between Playwork and youth work and understand the value of playwork skills. They are therefore providing a better service for children and young people.
"Without the knowledge and expertise of Skills Active help we wouldn't have been able to upskill our workforce in play. I'd recommend any individual or organisation contact SkillsActive for their playwork training needs."
The 18-year-old is an apprentice at Goldhill Adventure Playground in Leicester, and his supervisor is none other than his grandmother, senior playwork instructor Dee Dixon.
"We get on really well and she treats me exactly the same as the other workers," Josh says. "She encourages me to do well but if I get told off, it's that much more embarrassing because we're family."
Josh, who used to work part time at Goldhill Adventure Playground, always wanted to work in sports. He decided to leave school at 16 when he learned he could fast track his career by taking up an apprenticeship at the workplace he'd come to know and love.
"I'm a practical minded person and I was getting bored at school," he says.
Josh met with Leicester College NVQ trainer assessor Charlotte Coulson, who recommended he undertake the apprenticeship in activity leadership as it most closely matched his responsibilities at the playground.
An average day for Josh involves arriving at the playground at 2.30pm and setting up the site and equipment for sport activities. He will then lead anywhere between 40 and 50 children in a range of sports until 6pm. During holidays, he helps provide full day care for anywhere up to 250 children.
"Every day is different," he says. "Unlike at school, here the children get to play whatever sport they want so I've got to be ready and willing to instruct in a range of sports."
As well as gaining valuable work experience, Josh has achieved recognised qualifications including FA Level 2 football coaching badge and his first aid certificate. He put the latter to use at an 11 aside football tournament.
"Two lads banged heads during a game, which left one with a cut eyebrow," he says. "I kept him calm, bandaged his wound and made sure he went to hospital incase it was something more serious."
Resurrecting and coaching Goldhill Adventure Playground's 11 aside football team is one of Josh's proudest achievements: "They've now made the league and are doing really well."
After finishing his apprenticeship in activity leadership, Josh began an advanced apprenticeship in sports development. He is now working with the newly reopened Southfields sports centre to promote its activities and services and lead football sessions.
"I'm learning great skills, working flexible hours and earning money. It's great."
Josh reckons he's matured a lot during his apprenticeship - he's more confident, responsible and sure about his future path: "When my apprenticeship finishes next August, I want to start a University foundation learning course. Ultimately, I want to combine my interests in sports and working with young people and be a PE teacher."
Charlotte has no doubt Josh will achieve his dreams: "He's an excellent student, he loves sports and he's willing to put the work in. He has all the qualities to be a great teacher."
SkillsActive, the sector skills council for sport and active leisure, has designed the apprenticeship frameworks to help businesses train employees to a high level of competency and performance.
There are four types of apprenticeships available in the active learning, learning and wellbeing sector. They provide a mix of practical and technical skills that allow development at work and progression to further education.
To find out more about Apprenticeships in the sport and active leisure sector please see Apprenticeships
PBL Ltd is a CACHE and ILM centre which has been delivering NVQs and Apprenticeships in Childcare and Management since 2006.
In early 2009, the Centre was approved for Play-work qualifications. It is a private limited company, with currently around 70 learners on programmes.
We have above average success rates and robust methods of quality assurance and delivery. Our retention rates are also above average for the sector.
Telephone: 0132 384 6868
Oxfordshire Play Association (OPA) was established as a charity in 1974. An Executive Committee, (the Trustees) are elected annually and have overall strategic responsibility for the organisation. Day to day management and operations are delegated to the staff team. OPA aim to provide practical and professional support and encouragement to all those involved in providing children and young people of all ages with opportunities to play and, in particular:
With over 30 years’ experience, OPA aims to be the lead organisation for promoting sustainable high
quality play opportunities across the county for children and young people aged 0 – 19 years.
Telephone: 0186 577 9474