Youth Work National Occupational Standards

Unleash your full potential as a youth worker with the National Occupational Standards. The cornerstone of youth work practice, defining the competencies required to deliver impactful, values-driven youth work.

The Youth Work National Occupational Standards (NOS) aim to define the competencies that are needed to deliver youth work. They are relevant to the whole workforce; both paid staff and volunteers. They form part of the building blocks of practice underpinning the youth work outcomes and skills framework. 

The NOS describe the ‘knowledge and understanding’ and the ‘performance criteria’ that lie behind a wide range of approaches, tasks and processes in youth work. As a value-based field, our occupational standards are firmly anchored in the values and principles of youth work. 

National Occupational Standards play an important role influencing the content of role descriptions and training and qualifications at all levels in Youth Work, as in other professions.  

In Scotland the Youth Work NOS relate to the National Youth Work Induction Checklist, the PDA in Youth Work, SVQs and Modern Apprenticeships, all the way to degree level qualifications and complement the CLD Competent Practitioner Framework. 

The Youth Work NOS are developed UK wide. The latest refresh in 2019 was facilitated by the CLD Standards Council for Scotland, with input from partners across the UK, including YouthLink Scotland and the youth work sector. 

Youth Work National Occupational Standards 2019

These documents make up the most recent Youth Work NOS, reviewed in 2019. Following the introduction, the functional map lists all of the NOS specifically for youth work, as well as the 'signposted NOS' that have been brought in from other sectors, for example from Management and Leadership. The final document YW01-YW26 has the full text of these NOS.

Youth Work NOS 2019 Introduction
(PDF, 749 KB)
Youth Work NOS 2019 Functional Map
(PDF, 304 KB)
Youth Work NOS 2019 YW 01 - YW 26 Full Text
(PDF, 503 KB)

Youth Work National Occupational Standards 2012

These are the previous NOS for youth work, published in 2012, and are here for your interest as a historical document.

Youth Work NOS 2012
(PDF, 728 KB)