National Occupational Standards

What are National Occupational Standards ?

There are National Occupational Standards (NOS), specifying the standards of performance individuals must achieve in the workplace, together with the knowledge and understanding required for roles, for most employment sectors. They were originally developed by Sector Skills Councils for the UK as a whole; skills policy in England has shifted away from NOS and they are currently managed by Skills Development Scotland on behalf of the three devolved administrations.

What is CLD specific ?

There are suites of National Occupational Standards for Community Development and for Youth Work. They can be used to complement the CLD Competences in reflecting on, developing and strengthening practice.

Community Development NOS

The CLD Standards Council worked with partners in the other 3 nations of the UK to review the Community Development NOS and develop a new version, published in 2015.

“The National Occupational Standards outline clearly the skills, values and processes required for effective and appropriate community development practice. Community development is undertaken by a wide range of people in different settings and roles. Community development practitioners may be paid (employed workers) or unpaid (community activists and voluntary workers), and all need to be competent in the necessary skills and knowledge and to work with integrity to support communities who may have few recognised resources and limited access to decision makers.

The Standards applied to practice will ensure that community development impacts on poverty, racism and social exclusion in a way that empowers, enables and encourages participation.”

The summary of the NOS describes their role and purpose. It sets out key values, key areas and standards that relate to these, emphasising the role of the reflective practitioner.

Download: Summary of CD NOS 2015

If you want to explore aspects of the standards in more detail, the full standards detail the knowledge and understanding required for each of the 25 standards and illustrate how the community development values inform practice.

Download: CD NOS 2015

Youth Work NOS

In 2018, CLD Standards Council Scotland was successful in its bid to review and develop the Youth Work NOS. This involved consulting with industry experts across the four nations within the UK, amending existing NOS where appropriate and developing new NOS according to the roles the sector representatives identified. The new NOS were published in 2019.

Youth work involves engaging with young people to facilitate their personal, social and educational development and enable them to gain a voice, influence and a place in society.  Youth Workers help young people to engage with their local communities, taking account of cultural diversity. They support the young person to realise their potential and to address life’s challenges critically and creatively. Youth work may take place in a variety of settings including community venues, uniformed groups, schools, youth cafés and on the street, whilst using numerous approaches such as outdoor pursuits, drama workshops, health initiatives, peer education and single issue and single gender work to engage with young people. Youth work may be carried out by volunteers or via paid employment in the sector.

Download: Youth Work NOS Introduction 2019 (PDF)

Download: Youth Work NOS 2019

Download: Functional Map

You can also access the Youth Work NOS by searching for ‘Youth Work’ in the NOS Database website here: