Playworkers support children and young people to create their own spaces and opportunities for play.
Salary range: £12,000 to £30,000
How to become a playworker
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
- applying directly
You could prepare for this job by doing a qualification like:
- Level 2 Award in Outdoor Play Practice
- Level 2 Certificate for the Children and Young People’s Workforce
- Level 3 Diploma in Children’s Play, Learning and Development
- T level in Education
A first aid certificate might also be useful.
You may need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T level
You could complete an intermediate and advanced apprenticeship in playwork.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
You can start as a playgroup assistant and get qualifications while you work.
Volunteering and experience
You can volunteer with a playgroup to build up your experience of working with children. This can often lead into paid work.
You can apply for a playwork job if you’re already a qualified childcare worker. You can also do the Level 3 Award in Transition to Playwork qualification to help with this.
You’ll find more details on working in childcare from the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- sensitivity and understanding
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to work well with others
- to be flexible and open to change
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- excellent verbal communication skills
- customer service skills
- thinking and reasoning skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
You’ll need to have a positive attitude towards children and enjoy working with them.
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day work may include:
- providing and setting up play areas, materials and equipment
- giving out refreshments
- talking to children about their concerns or worries
- dealing with injuries and emergencies
- building relationships with parents, carers, and professionals
- keeping records and looking after petty cash
You could work in the community or at a school.
Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time.
You may need to wear a uniform.
Career path and progression
With experience and training, you could work for a local authority as a playwork development officer, supervisor or become a manager, or move into a school as a teaching assistant.
You could also be self-employed and set up your own after-school club or childcare project.