From education to employment

TQUK have landed firmly in the playground!

Children playing

Remember that feeling of running down a hill so fast it felt like your legs were going to fall off? Or laughing so hard you couldn’t catch your breath because your friends are goofing about building monsters out of old cartons? It’s probably been a while, but those feelings never fade from our memories.  

Playworkers know this. Playworkers aren’t teachers or babysitters, their unique approach to working with children focuses on imagination, uninhibited exploration of physical environments and encourages flights of fancy, wherever they might lead. 

Well, TQUK has landed firmly in the middle of the playground and boy, are they happy to be there! 

Natasha, Awarding Compliance Lead at TQUK is pictured above with her favourite teddy lovingly strewn on the floor. To this day she still sleeps with him on her pillow.  

With this in mind, it only makes sense that TQUK are the first-ever End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) approved for the Playworker standard. This achievement comes after extensive collaboration with the Trailblazer group. 

Tanny Stobart has worked with and on behalf of children for over 60 years. She originally trained as a teacher before becoming the UK Playwork Policy Officer in 1994. Recognising the decline in playwork education and training, Tanny and a group of playwork employers joined forces a few years ago to establish the Playwork Apprenticeship Trailblazer group, supported by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.  

What was their goal? To create an updated and funded pathway for aspiring Playworkers in England. During this process, they identified several pressing issues, including a shortage of qualified Playworkers, a lack of publicly funded playwork courses, limited career development pathways, and, subsequently, a decline in play provision for children. Less play never led to good things in TQUK’s opinion.   

To address these challenges head-on, they collaborated with the esteemed Training Qualifications UK (TQUK), to develop a groundbreaking solution – the Playworker apprenticeship.  

This apprenticeship standard stands out from other training routes due to its unique approach.  

Tanny highlights, ‘The employers involved in the department of the apprenticeship are all practicing Playworkers with an in-depth knowledge of the profession. They recognise that current courses were written a significant number of years earlier and do not take recent developments into consideration. Reflecting on these is important because it acknowledges significant issues like the climate emergency and reinforces the critical involvement of children/young people going forward. The new apprenticeship also supports young people with additional needs to be able to consider an employment pathway into playwork.’ 

When asked about her experience working with TQUK to develop this standard, Tanny expressed how it had been ‘incredibly positive.’ 

‘Their ability to support colleagues to develop the Playwork apprenticeship and take time to understand the unique nature of the profession has been especially noteworthy.’ 

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