Job Description:

Playworkers help children and young people to develop their physical, social and language skills through play.

Job Category:

What you will do:

As a playworker, you could:

  • set up play areas and make sure they are safe and secure
  • lead games, supervise children and give out refreshments
  • talk to children about their worries
  • build positive relationships with parents, carers and professionals
  • deal with injuries and emergencies
  • keep records and work closely with parents and carers


You’ll need:

  • customer service skills
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • volunteering
  • applying directly

You could do a college course to get some of the skills you’ll need in this job. Courses include:

  • Award in Outdoor Play and Learning
  • Certificate for the Children and Young People’s Workforce
  • Diploma in Children’s Play, Learning and Development
    A course in Education and Early Years

You could start on a Playworker Apprenticeship.

This usually takes around 18 months to complete and is a mix of study and workplace learning.

You can volunteer with a playgroup or after school club to build up your experience of working with children. This may lead into paid work, where you could do training on the job.

Direct Application
You can apply for playworker jobs if you’re already a qualified childcare worker.

A paediatric first aid certificate will be useful but is not essential.

School Subjects

To become a playworker in the UK, there are no specific GCSE subjects that are mandatory. However, certain subjects can be beneficial and relevant to the role of a playworker. Playwork is a specialized field that involves providing opportunities for children to play in a safe and stimulating environment. Here are some GCSE subjects that could be helpful:

  1. Child Development: This subject can give you valuable insights into child psychology and development, which are essential for understanding the needs and interests of the children you’ll be working with.
  2. Psychology: Psychology can provide a broader understanding of human behavior, which can be relevant when interacting with children and supporting their play experiences.
  3. Physical Education (PE): PE can be useful for organizing and leading physical activities and games for the children in your care.
  4. Art and Design or Performing Arts: These subjects can enhance your creativity and ability to develop engaging play activities for children, including arts and crafts projects and imaginative play scenarios.
  5. Health and Social Care: This subject can provide knowledge about health and safety considerations and the well-being of children, which is crucial in playwork.
  6. Communication Studies: Effective communication is vital for engaging with children, parents, and colleagues in a playwork setting.
  7. English: Strong language and literacy skills are valuable for communicating with children, planning activities, and maintaining records.

While GCSE subjects can provide a foundation of knowledge, becoming a playworker often requires additional training and qualifications. Many playworkers pursue vocational qualifications in playwork, early childhood education, or childcare. Gaining practical experience through volunteer work or placements in childcare settings can also be beneficial. The most important qualities for a playworker are a genuine interest in children’s well-being, creativity, patience, and the ability to create a supportive and enjoyable play environment.

Working Hours and Environment:

Typical working hours consist of 10-25 hours of work each week but these can be variable.

You may have to work on the weekend or in the evenings. You could work in the community or at a school. Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time and you may need to wear a uniform.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience and training, you could:

  • work as a playwork development officer for a local authority
  • become a playwork scheme supervisor or manager
  • move into a school as a teaching assistant
  • become self employed and set up an after school club or childcare project