So, you’re sold that Health and Social Care is the path for you. That’s great and all, but where on earth do you start...
- You'll work with children to support their play
- You'll need to be caring, patient and happy to work flexible hours
- You could progress to work as a playwork development officer or become a manager, or set up your own after-school club or childcare project
As a playworker, you'll support children to follow their own ideas and interests for play.
- Provide and set up play areas, materials and equipment
- Give out refreshments
- Talk to children about their concerns or worries
- Deal with injuries and emergencies
- Build relationships with parents, carers, and professionals
- Keep records and look after petty cash
- You may be invited to join in activities like sports, drama, music, den building, cooking and creative games
You'll make sure there are safe, interesting and fun play opportunities to meet children's' individual and group needs. You'll also follow health and safety procedures, helping children to be aware of their own safety and that of others.
Most playwork is in the evenings, at weekends and during school holidays. You'll be working indoors and outdoors, depending on location and the type of activity. You could be based in a breakfast club, after school club, mobile play bus, holiday play scheme, adventure playground or children's centre. Your work will usually be very active, and you'll join in with games and sports when you're invited to.
To be a playworker, you'll need sensitivity and understanding, patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations, the ability to work well with others, flexibility and openness to change, the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure, excellent verbal communication skills, customer service skills, and thinking and reasoning skills.
Direct application for this role is possible 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 can start as a playgroup assistant and get qualifications while you work.
You'll find it useful if you have some related experience, either paid or as a volunteer but you don't need any formal qualifications.
You could prepare for this job by taking a college course, such as a Level 2 Award in Outdoor Play Practice, Level 2 Certificate for the Children and Young People's Workforce, or Level 3 Diploma in Children's Play, Learning and Development. You can also take a T level in education.
You could also get into this career through an intermediate and advanced apprenticeship in playwork.
Before you start paid or voluntary work, you'll need a background check by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
With experience and training, you could work for a local authority as a playwork development officer or become a manager. You could also become self-employed and set up your own after-school club or childcare project.