Plans to train new youth and community workers with on-the-job
training have led to concerns that standards will fall.
The National Youth Agency said work-based training would provide
a quicker and more cost-effective way meet the demand for new
It has recently set a target of one youth worker for every 400
13 to 19-year-olds – requiring an additional 3,000 full-time
staff in England,
At present the only way to qualify as a qualified youth worker is
to complete a higher education course validated by the agency.
The Joint National Committee – which represents employer,
youth agency and staff union interests – has suggested the
lowest-grade staff need only be qualified to NVQ level 2 (GCSE
The National Youth Agency hopes this will enable local authority
and voluntary sector employers to allow volunteer staff to become
peer educators or assistant youth workers before training through a
modern apprenticeship and a foundation degree.
But the Community and Youth Workers Union has condemned the
proposals to lower the basic qualification requirements, saying
that better pay is crucial to increase recruitment.
The union said: “We seek retention of a full JNC
qualification for all full-time workers and a minimum level 3
(A-level equivalent) qualification for all paid posts. Many are now
calling for at least a three-year degree.”