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Become a playworker

Playworkers work with children from two to 16 years old in out of school or playwork settings including breakfast clubs, after school clubs, mobile play buses, adventure playgrounds and holiday playschemes. So you could be working in a school, community centre or leisure centre.

Your role as a playworker will be varied and usually very active. Most playwork settings are open in the mornings, evenings, at weekends and during school holidays so there are opportunities to work full or part-time. Job roles include everything from apprentice and playwork assistant to playwork supervisor and manager.

You can find out more about what it's really like to be a playworker by watching our films (YouTube).

Getting started


If you've never worked with children before then you might want to get some practical experience by volunteering. It'll give you a chance to try out different roles and will look great on your cv.

Playwork qualifications

You do not always need formal qualifications to start working or training as a playworker but anyone who works or volunteers with children and young people must have an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS). And once you start working, your employer may encourage you to take qualifications.


This is a great way of gaining qualifications and workplace experience at the same time. All apprenticeships are real jobs so you will earn a salary while you are training. An apprenticeship has an equivalent education level and can be:

  • Intermediate - equivalent to 5 GCSE passes
  • Advanced - equivalent to 2 A level passes
  • Higher - can lead to NVQ Level 4 and above, or a foundation degree

Find out more information and search for apprenticeship opportunities near you.

If you're not quite ready for an apprenticeship then a traineeship could be for you. A traineeship is an education and training programme with work experience for young people aged 16 to 24. Find out more about traineeships.

Level 2 - Level 7 qualifications

There are full and part-time courses, college or e-learning packages so you'll be able to find something that suits you. But first, you need to look at what type and what level of qualification you'd like to do. This could include:

  • Level 2 Award/Certificate/Diploma in Playwork (aimed at assistants)
  • Level 3 Diploma in Playwork (aimed at more senior staff and playgroup leaders)
  • Level 3 Award in Transition to Playwork (from Early Years)
  • Level 4 Award and Certificate in Playwork, and Level 5 Diploma in Playwork for supervisors and managers.

You can find out more about the courses and qualifications that are available and if you are eligible for funding by visiting our childcare qualifications webpage.

For more information about jobs roles, qualifications and funding download our Childcare career guide (PDF).

Files available to download