Children and Young People's Workforce (England)

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Framework details

Framework ID: FR04113
Issue number: 25
Issued: 20 September 2017

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Children and Young People's Workforce (England)
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Issued by
Skills for Care & Development

Contact name: Linda Currin
Telephone number: 0113 2411200
Please download the framework for email contact information.


An Apprenticeship is a job with an accompanying skills development programme designed by employers in the sector. It allows the apprentice to gain technical knowledge and real practical experience, along with functional and personal skills, required for their immediate job and future career. These are acquired through a mix of learning in the workplace, formal off the job training and the opportunity to practice and embed new skills in a real work context. This broader mix differentiates the Apprenticeship experience from training delivered to meet narrowly focused job needs.

All apprentices commencing their Apprenticeship must have an Apprenticeship Agreement between the employer and the apprentice. This can be used to reinforce the understanding of the requirements of the Apprenticeship.

On completion of the Apprenticeship the apprentice must be able to undertake the full range of duties, in the range of circumstances appropriate to the job, confidently and competently to the standard set by the industry.

This framework is to develop knowledge and skills relating to the Children & Young People’s Workforce (i.e. those working with children aged 0-19, primarily within Early Learning & Childcare; Children's Social Care; Residential Childcare). This framework is suitable for those looking to join the Children & Young People's Workforce and also those already working in the sector.

It should be noted that this framework is not the most appropriate framework for those working in/looking to work in playwork or teaching support services (please see Skills Active or TDA frameworks). It is however the most appropriate framework for those delivering the Early Years Foundation Stage within maintained school settings.

The Children and Young People's Workforce:
There are approximately 2.7 million people working with children and young people in England. As defined in Building Brighter Futures: next steps for the Children’s Workforce in April 2008, this includes volunteers and people who work with children and young people all the time, or who do so as part of jobs which also involve working with adults.

The children and young people’s workforce makes up approximately 10% of the labour market in England and includes people working in all sectors of the economy. A large number are public sector employees, including in schools, colleges, local authorities and the NHS. Many work in the private sector – particularly in early years, but there are private providers in all areas of services to children and young people. And a growing part of the children and young people’s workforce is employed, or volunteers, in the third sector which is playing an increasing role in the delivery of all services to children and young people, particularly those for the most vulnerable children, young people and families.

(Source: 2020 Children and Young People's Workforce Strategy, 2008)

Early Years / Childcare:
There are approximately 360,300 staff working in non-maintained childcare settings (e.g. full day care, childminders, sessional day care, etc) and there are approximately 117,300 staff working in maintained early years provision (i.e. nursery schools, nursery classes or reception classes in schools).

Approximately 73% of paid staff working in childcare have at least a L3 qualification which reflects the previous government's policy aimed at encouraging staff working in under 8's daycare to achieve L3 qualifications, as set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Statutory Framework.

However, there are still approximately 11% of paid staff working in childcare who have no qualifications.
(Source: Childcare and Early Years Provider Survey 2009 (published July 2010))

Children's Social Care and Residential Childcare:
There are approx. 38,000 children's residential workers, 3,000 registered managers and 47,000 foster care households in England. (Source: State of the Children and Young People's Workforce report 2010)

There are issues of recruitment and retention within both the statutory sector and voluntary and private sectors of the children’s social care workforce. These are influenced by pay issues and the nature of the work. However, those in the private and voluntary sector who leave tend to take up employment within the children’s sector. It is not clear to what degree this is a continuation of the traditional career pathway from social work assistant into qualified social work. A viable alternative career pathway within social care may impact on the pattern of recruitment and retention. (Source: Understanding the Children's Social Care Workforce - full report July 2010)

The EPPE Project (Effective Provision of Pre-school Education) 1997-2003, showed direct links between the quality of pre-school education and care, and child development. Some of the key findings are below:
Key findings over the pre-school period
Impact of attending a pre-school:

  • Pre-school experience, compared to none, enhances all-round development in children.
  • Duration of attendance (in months) is important; an earlier start (under age 3 years) is related to better intellectual development.
  • Full time attendance led to no better gains for children than part-time provision.
  • Disadvantaged children benefit significantly from good quality pre-school experiences, especially where they are with a mixture of children from different social backgrounds.
  • Overall disadvantaged children tend to attend pre-school for shorter periods of time than those from more advantaged groups (around 4-6 months less).

Effects of quality and specific ‘practices’ in pre-school:

  • High quality pre-schooling is related to better intellectual and social/behavioural development for children.
  • Settings that have staff with higher qualifications have higher quality scores and their children make more progress.
  • Quality indicators include warm interactive relationships with children, having a trained teacher as manager and a good proportion of trained teachers on the staff.
  • Where settings view educational and social development as complementary and equal in importance, children make better all round progress.
  • Effective pedagogy includes interaction traditionally associated with the term “teaching”, the provision of instructive learning environments and ‘sustained shared thinking’ to extend children’s learning.

It is therefore vital that the workforce are able to demonstrate the right qualities and gain the appropriate qualifications in order to support children and young people to gain the best start in life and provide them with a safe and secure environment. This framework will support apprentices to do this.

At L2, the qualification is a generic qualification for the Children and Young People's Workforce and confirms competence under supervision in these areas. This also serves as a progression pathway to the required qualification at level 3 and above for registration and regulatory requirements in the sector.

At L3, the qualification confirms competence in this area and serves as the required qualification (for all new practitioners) for registration and regulatory requirements in the early learning and childcare sector.

The qualifications at both Levels 2 and 3 contain a number of units that are shared across related workforces, i.e. children's services, schools support services, health, care and playwork. This supports the development of transferrable knowledge and skills and helps to develop a more flexible workforce.

Apprenticeship Certificates England (ACE)
The Federation for Industry Sector Skills and Standards (Federation) (previously known as the Alliance of Sector Skills Councils) is the designated Certifying Authority for Apprenticeships in England. To manage this process the Federation developed a bespoke, online system, known as Apprenticeship Certificates England (ACE).

The ACE system enables apprentices or training providers/employers acting on their behalf, to apply for their Apprenticeship completion certificate. It is a centralised system that meets all of the relevant regulatory and quality assurance requirements of the Apprenticeship certification process. Although the main focus of the system is to certificate Apprenticeships it also aims to reduce the administrative burden of certification and introduce consistency and standardisation across all occupational sectors.

The ACE Support Team operates a dedicated helpline for all ACE users and is available to respond to telephone and e-mail queries Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm. 0844 573 2560
The team includes members who provide support with both system processes and quality and regulatory guidance for certification requirements. It also has a team who regularly audit Certification Bodies to ensure that regulatory and quality standards are being adhered to and applied in a consistent manner.


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Children and Young People's Workforce (England)
(PDF document 3.92 MB)