The Register of Regulated Qualifications, OfQual, approved the Level 3 Diploma in Performance Coaching for Gaelic Sports in late 2011. The course will be delivered through the Open College Network Northern Ireland (OCN NI).
SkillsActive manager for Northern Ireland Siobhan Weir says she worked closely with the GAA and OCN NI to achieve the result.
“The formal accreditation of this course is an excellent achievement for Ulster GAA. Accreditation benefits everyone, from the learner to the wider sporting industry, and this is a great example of a work-based course evolving to become a nationally approved qualification.
“Although the course been developed purely for the NI market, it has international potential, especially in London and USA where the GAA has a huge network.”
Ulster GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghail says: “We have thousands of volunteers who give their time freely coaching in their clubs from U8s right up to Senior teams. Now the GAA wants to give back to those volunteers.”
Brendan Clarke, CEO of Open College Network NI says: “To be associated with this key development, and able to support it by accrediting such a distinctive and important activity as the GAA coaching programme, is a source of significant pride to the OCNNI.”
The GAA also agreed in principle to buy activepassports for their candidates.
The aim of this new qualification structure is to support learners who are entering the profession to qualify in bite sized chunks. However there is also the opportunity for more experienced workers to come straight in at diploma level and demonstrate their achievement of all the award and certificate requirements as part of their diploma (NVQ).
The award covers the key elements needed for a worker to undertake level 3 responsibilities and be safe with children and young people. It contains both knowledge-based learning as well as opportunities to practice.
The award is short enough to be accessible to those working for only a few weeks a year in a temporary capacity, and should be considered an induction to the role of the playworker. In order to make sure that learning does not need to be repeated, the award is nested within the certificate.
The certificate covers the core of the playwork standards and an element of practice, and will equip learners with the knowledge and understanding they need to gain employment in the sector.
To gain the certificate in playwork, learners will cover the award plus the additional certificate units at the same level. This qualification aims to prepare people to work in the sector, in order that they can gain competence through practice and progress to the diploma.
The diploma covers all of the necessary playwork national occupational standards, and is considered a full qualification for both funding and regulatory requirements for the Early Years and Childcare Registers.
The qualification also reflects wider aspects of working with children and young people which are appropriate to the playworker’s role at this level.
The Diploma (NVQ) is so-called because it contains assessment of performance against agreed standards and, through this, provides evidence that the holder is competent.
Please note that the CWDC Level 3 Diploma in Work with Children and Young People is not a playwork qualification, as it has been designed for people working in early years, social care and learning and development i.e. those sectors in the CWDC footprint.
It does not cover the playwork principles nor does it reflect the playwork approach to work with children and young people. However, we have used three of the most relevant core units from the CWDC Diploma in our level 3 qualifications, and will continue to work with CWDC to identify ways in which recognition of our respective qualifications can be achieved.
For information on the CWDC Diploma in Work with Children and Young people, visit the CWDC website for more details.