Playworkers work with young children to provide them with a safe and exciting space in which to have fun, socialise and develop new skills.
Most playworker vacancies require candidates to have experience of working with young children and possess qualifications with a practical element. It may be possible for prospective playworkers to secure an apprenticeship. Once in employment, playworkers receive training on-the-job. They may be expected to work towards a recognised qualification, such as an NVQ in Playwork.
Playworkers must be able to build trusting relationships with the children in their care. They should fully understand the needs of children and have an awareness of health and safety issues. Good team work skills and a reasonable level of physical fitness are also essential.
Employers of playworkers include local authorities, play centres, hospitals and charitable organisations. Vacancies for playworker jobs are advertised in the press, by individual educational institutions, in specialist publications and through recruitment agencies. While there are some full-time jobs available, most are part-time. All playworkers are expected to agree to undergo a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check.
Salaries for playworkers start at around £10,000 a year for a full-time staff member with no experience. Trained and experienced playworkers can earn between up to £22,000 a year, with senior managers earning considerably more.