Since September 2014, Ofsted-registered out-of-school clubs and holiday play schemes have no longer been required to employ staff with childcare or playwork qualifications. Coupled with swingeing cuts to local authority play services, there are now fewer qualifications for playworkers in England.
However, Play Wales has developed a suite of qualifications, which will be available for delivery in England from Spring 2020, designed to provide coherent progression. These comprise Agored Cymru Level 2 Award in Playwork Practice, Agored Cymru Level 2 Certificate Playwork: Principles in Practice, and Agored Cymru Level 3 Diploma Playwork: Principles into Practice. Play Wales is running a Train the Trainer course for the qualifications which will take place in November and December.
Awarding bodies Cache and City & Guilds also offer a suite of playwork qualifications from Level 2 to Level 5. Cache offers a Level 2 Diploma in Playwork, Level 3 Certificate in Playwork, Level 3 Diploma in Playwork, Level 5 Diploma in Playwork, and in Wales only a Level 5 Diploma in Advanced Playwork. City & Guilds offers Level 2, 3 and 5 Diplomas in Playwork and a Level 3 Award in Transition to Playwork (From Early Years).
Play England has launched a training endorsement scheme for courses that represent good practice and are underpinned by the Playwork Principles. Courses will be listed on the Play England website.
Leeds Beckett University offers a BA (Hons) in Childhood Development and Playwork. The University of Gloucester's Playwork Partnerships offers a range of courses which can be delivered by the partnership or local providers who have registered on the Playwork Partnerships Associate Trainer scheme. "Most like to deliver Play-Way, a comprehensive seven session entry-level course at Level 2," says Leonie Burton, development manager at Playwork Partnerships. "We also offer a shorter one day Volunteers in Play course." Other courses include Playing on the Range, designed for play rangers and playworkers in open access settings.
Playwork Partnerships is also delivering the Play Friendly Schools project which provides free training and resources for schools mainly in Gloucestershire and Nottinghamshire. The project has a year to run, after which resources and training will no longer be free.
Cache is currently supporting a trailblazer group of play employers to write an apprenticeship standard for playworkers. The group hopes the apprenticeship will be available from next March.