Qualifications framework could force workers to pick age group

Youth workers and those working in social care could be required to have specific qualifications to work with certain age groups, early research on the development of an integrated qualifications framework for the children and young people’s workforce suggests.

Government-funded work into the issues that will shape the design of an integrated framework points out that, while some qualifications are designed for work with specific age groups of children and young people, others are not.

“Clearly someone working with older teenagers will need a different skill set from those working with, say five- to eight-year-olds,” the report states.

“While this different skill set is acknowledged in some qualifications, and work with very young children is seen as requiring a specialised skill set as evidenced by the volume of early years-specific qualifications, it does not appear to be explicitly acknowledged in others, for example youth work qualifications or social care qualifications. These issues have implications for the identification of suitable progression pathways.”

The report, part of a wider series by Sheffield Hallam University on mapping qualifications and training for the children’s and young people’s workforce, also proposes a “standardisation” between employer groups across the country over the most appropriate and significant qualifications for any particular role. The researchers found that, while there was some consensus on the qualifications required for more senior professional roles, this was often not the case for many support jobs.

The need for new qualifications was also flagged up, with gaps being identified in a range of areas including behaviour management, commissioning services, and supporting transition.

The researchers’ related report on training issues highlights other needs around people having to work more closely together in extended schools or integrated services programmes, and around common procedures such as the Common Assessment Framework.

It also reveals that children’s trust pathfinders expect the range of movement across the workforce without significant retraining to be quite narrow and largely limited to the lower down the levels, partly as a result of issues around pay.

Reports from www.dfes.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/RW62.pdf and www.dfes.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/RW64.pdf

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