National Occupational Standards

4 July 2012 — 2 Comments

In case you missed it, the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) have published the revised National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Youth Work.


The purpose of the National Occupational Standards is to describe the knowledge and skills needed to perform a job role or work task. They exist for a huge number of vocations and provide a benchmark of good practice as they explain what needs to be done. For example, the NOS outline the purpose of youth work and define its values:

The key purpose of youth work is to……

‘Enable young people to develop holistically, working with them to facilitate their personal, social and educational development, to enable them to develop their voice, influence and place in society and to reach their full potential’

This statement refers to the holistic development of young people, recognising that personal, social and educational development can also include, for example, physical, political and spiritual development.

There are potentially loads of uses for the National Occupational Standards. They have been used by voluntary organisations to help design youth work training courses where the learning outcomes match the NOS criteria. You can download the Uses Document from NCVYS to find out 113 things you can use the NOS for. Having said that, I don’t know many practicing workers who are very familiar with the NOS, it seems to be managers and trainers who know their way around them.

The new 2012 Youth Work NOS looks different to previous versions, although it is mostly the format that has changed. However I understand that there was great deliberation around the inclusion of the ‘Spiritual Development’ standard that was present in the 2008 version (1.1.4). Sadly as a consensus wasn’t reached by the stakeholder group responsible for the NOS, this was removed and references to spirituality have been downgraded under the ‘Beliefs and Values’ standard (YW14). As someone who works in a faith and community setting, I find that dissapointing.

Take a look for yourself and download the new Youth Work National Occupational Standards here.

What do you think about the NOS? Have you ever read them or used them? Let us know in the comments!


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I am a qualified youth worker, writer and consultant based in Littlehampton, UK. I've worked in the voluntary youth sector for over 12 years, am married to Kirsty and we have two daughters named Hope and Eloise. Check out 'Journeying Together: Growing Youth Work and Youth Workers in Local Communities' and read my opening chapter.

2 responses to National Occupational Standards

  1. Do know who wrote them? I need to know for a ref for uni.

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