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Workforce development

Explore playwork

At Play Wales, we want to make sure that everyone in the play and playwork workforces has the support they need to understand, value and champion opportunities for play.

Our training events and publications are all designed with particular parts of the workforce in mind.

Some definitions

The ‘playwork workforce’ means everyone who does playwork as a job. This includes people working in open access playwork and out of school childcare. It also covers playworkers in schools, hospitals or community projects.

The ‘play workforce’ includes anyone whose job has an impact on where and when children play. It covers those working directly with children, as well as those with the power to give permission to play. This includes those working in:

  • local authorities
  • town and community councils
  • planning
  • highways
  • community development
  • health and social care.

These two definitions are taken from the Welsh Government’s statutory guidance, Wales – a Play Friendly Country.

‘Workforce development’ includes all the support we offer to increase people’s skills and knowledge about play and playwork. At Play Wales, it also refers to:

  • How we plan to organise workforce recruitment and retention
  • How we know what challenges face the play and playwork workforces
  • How we influence government policies and legislation affecting the workforce
  • How we plan to get funding for training and qualifications
  • How we influence plans for the regulation and inspection of playwork
  • How we work with the rest of the play and playwork sector in the UK.

About PETC Wales

The Playwork Education and Training Council for Wales (PETC Wales) is a group that discusses issues of strategic importance to all aspects of playwork education, training and qualifications in Wales. The group also makes recommendations to PETC UK. Play Wales supports the running of PETC Wales.

PETC Wales’ functions include:

  • Approving playwork qualifications that will be included in the List of Required Qualifications to work within the Playwork Sector in Wales.
  • Providing advice and guidance to the Welsh Government, Qualifications Wales, Social Care Wales and Care Inspectorate Wales on issues relating to education, training and qualifications.
  • Sharing information with other national Playwork Education and Training Councils.
  • Receiving reports and making recommendations about key aspects of the development of, registration for and undertaking of playwork qualifications.
  • Monitoring and supporting the aspects of Wales – a Play Friendly Country that relate to playwork workforce development.

UK Playwork NOS Consortium

Play Wales provides secretariat to the UK Playwork NOS Consortium.

The purpose of the consortium is to plan strategically across the four nations for the future of workforce development and sector skills initiatives in respect of playwork. In particular, to be in a position to ensure that a future review of the National Occupational Standards (NOS) is undertaken by a consortium of organisations who can demonstrate sector expertise and buy in.

Membership of the UK Playwork NOS Consortium includes Play Wales, Play Scotland, Play England, PlayBoard Northern Ireland and the Playwork Foundation.

Key functions: 

  • To facilitate communication around playwork sector skills and workforce development across the UK.
  • To support the development of Playwork Education and Training Councils (PETCs) or similar, in all four nations, including a PETC UK.
  • To discuss, agree and plan for a future review of the NOS for playwork.

To encourage engagement from national playwork organisations and playwork sector experts including employers in respect of writing playwork NOS.



A play friendly workforce for Wales

A play friendly workforce for Wales is Play Wales’ plan for supporting workforce development. We first developed the plan in 2017, updating it in 2020 and again in 2023 to reflect the changing needs of the workforce.

The plan includes:

  • Clear and concise definitions of the playwork workforce and the play workforce
  • Challenges facing the playwork workforce and the play workforce
  • Play Wales’ strategic and operational priorities for the playwork workforce and the play workforce.


The Welsh Play Workforce Study 2021 

From time to time, Play Wales undertakes research into the needs of the workforce. The Welsh Play Workforce Study 2021 provides an insight into the play workforce in Wales, focusing on three overlapping areas:

  • strategy
  • links between strategy and practice
  • the play workforce itself.

If you would like a copy of the full research report, please get in touch with us


Spotlight on…

Playwork is a profession. Playworkers train to do their job. Playworkers can practice at a number of different levels and can follow different paths – from part-time temporary work to full time permanent posts developing or managing play settings.

To provide an insight into the diversity of the play and playwork workforce in Wales we have interviewed a range of professionals who work in a variety of roles. The Spotlight on… interviews are also intended to give an idea of the job roles available to support children’s play.


National Occupational Standards

The Playwork National Occupational Standards (NOS) are a set of standards outlining the competencies playworkers need in various areas of work. They are mainly used to help write qualifications. They are also used for other reasons, such as developing job descriptions and inductions or designing specialist training programmes.



2024/25 review of the National Occupational Standards for playwork

The UK Playwork NOS Consortium has been approved to take forward a review of the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for playwork. 

More information about the review.

Publication Library

Our publications are aimed at everyone who has an interest in, or responsibility for,  children’s play.

Learn more
children and teen playing with jenga
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