What training is needed and how to access ittraining

In the early days of the OSCAR sector our mantra was “more than just baby-sitting!” OSCAR work makes big demands on your personal resources and requires skill.

As part of the “human services” sector, OSCAR has many core competencies in common with other care/education/recreation professions such as Youth Work, Early Childhood Education, Fitness and Recreation and Elderly Care.

Training standards and requirements

The is no required "OSCAR qualification" for staff employed in OSCAR services, however basic training requirements do apply to all OSCAR services.

Firstly, as a workplace there is a legal requirement under the Health and Safety in Employment Act to adequately train staff in:

  • the safety procedures of your organisation
  • safe use of equipment and facilities
  • hazards in your workplace
  • what to do in emergencies
  • and how to manage any activities or situations that pose an element of risk.

On-going monitoring of staff is also a legal duty. The Act states that employers should ensure that a staff member is competent to carry out their duties safely, OR they should be supervised by a suitably competent person.

Additional training requirements are outlined in the OSCAR StandardsThe standards state that "The provider must be able to demonstrate that all staff have received training on policy and procedures, including abuse prevention, for recognising indicators of abuse and procedures for reporting concerns about abuse. Staff must also be trained in expectations of behaviour and their duty of care. Training should be held once a year."

In addition, the OSCAR Standards outline these training requirements:

  • Induction and ongoing training: "Services must be able to explain how they train staff in policies and procedures. This includes induction and ongoing training in how staff will work with the children and contribute to a safe environment. A dated record of training is to be kept on file."
  • First Aid: "There is at least one staff member present who has a current first aid qualification"
  • Child Protection: "Training in recognising and responding to suspected child abuse is provided to all staff"
  • Behaviour Guidance: "Services must have staff with appropriate maturity, experience and training. This includes being supportive, positive and using appropriate behaviour management techniques."
  • Special Needs: "Programmes should have procedures which describe how children with special needs may be accommodated by the service, considering staffing, training, diet, medication, equipment, modified activities, or modifications to the facilities."
  • Risk Management: "Services have an effective safety management system, including training for staff, to minimise or remove risks to the health and safety of children, staff and volunteers."

What are the Options for Training?

Programmes take a variety of approaches to meet these training requirements. This includes doing their own in-house training, either run by people within their organisation or with external trainers. This do-it-yourself approach is quite common in the sector and a suitable option where you have casual and short term staff who need to learn how your programme operates and to get familiar with essential procudures for supervison of children, behaviour guidance and keeping safe.

Accessing external training opportunities can be more of a challenge. Timing, location and cost can all pose potential barriers for people wishing to develop OSCAR skills and knowledge. What is available locally will vary from region to region. Some areas have regular provision of training opportunities that are designed for OSCAR staff (read more below and in the right column). It may also pay to look at courses offered for other sectors such as teaching, youth work, sport and recreation.

In some areas local operators will get together and share the costs of a training course or draw on their own staff expertise to upskill the group. To keep in touch with local training options some regions have local networks you can tap into.

First aid: There are often a range of options for courses and it pays to shop around. Again, some services will train all their staff together and shares costs by joining with some other local services for an in-house course. You might find it helpful to contact regional networks to tap into other programmes in your area.

Child protection training has in the past been provided by CYF staff but in many regions this is no longer available. Child Matters run a range of child protection courses, including some free courses through CYF, and OSCN have for many years used the services of Koru Corporation to run child protection courses in Auckland. This course could be offered outside of Auckland, if there was sufficient interest. Contact OSCN for more information. If you have other recommendation for contacts in your area for child protection training, please contact us.

OSCAR network workshops: In the South Island The OSCAR Network in Christchurch have a programme of workshops, including sessions in Nelson, Dunedin, Invercargill and Greymouth. In the North Island, The Out of School Care Network is offering a staff development module called "Tuning into your Children". If you would like this workshop in your region, please contact OSCN now. Also contact your regional networks to be kept advised of any training opportunities in your region.


Certificate in Out of School Care 
and Recreation (Level 4) 

Out-of-school workers help to provide a safe and stimulating learning environment for children aged 5 - 13 in before school care, after school care and holiday programmes. If you are an out-of-school worker or would like to be, this part-time study qualification will give you the knowledge, skills and understanding you need to do the job effectively.

You will study the Out of School Care and Recreation (OSCAR) certificate by distance and do the practical work in an out of school programme. You'll have the support of your supervisor and Open Polytechnic tutor along the way.

This NZQA approved qualification is the only distance-learning qualification in New Zealand that has been specifically developed for out-of school workers.

For more information on this course go to the Open Polytechnic Course website

South Island Training

South Island Training Dates at the OSCAR Network website.

North Island Training

For information please visit the OSCN Auckland website

Working Together (Child Protection) Seminars

South, Central and Auckland region dates for courses being run for CYF by Child Matters

Tuning in to Children
A unique training opportunity specifically for OSCAR
Available NOW for

Increase the connectedness of your team and build confidence in leading and initiating activities with children.

Tune your staff into your children, each other and your programme culture.

FUN and 100% interactive, hands-on learning.

Tuning in to Children (flier)

This workshop can be held in your area soon. All that is needed is a suitable facility and participation of staff from at least three different programmes in your area. Please contact OSCN for further information.

Core competencies

What would you consider to be the essential skill set for an OSCAR worker?

Person specifications for an OSCAR role will often include these elements:

Interpersonal skills: relating to others, especially children; verbal and written communication; positive team relationships

Activity and group facilitation skills: experience and skills in particular activity areas; managing groups; resolving conflict; promoting a positive social environment; problem-solving – “thinking on your feet”, resourceful, creative and flexible approach to activities and programmes.

Child-focused practice: an understanding of and commitment to child development and well-being; effective supervision, risk assessment and awareness of safety issues when working with children

Organisational skills: planning and scheduling; time management

OSCAR employers often talk about being as concerned about gauging a prospective employee’s commitment to the OSCAR role (and passion for working with children), as they are about relevant skills and experience.

Very few people are hired into an OSCAR programme “fully equipped” for their role in that programme, so employers need to be prepared for an induction process that introduces the new staff member to how this particular programme operates.

More Resources

Find more useful resources for staff induction, job descriptions etc at OSCN's Employment Tool Box.


© Copyright Out of School Care Network - Site map
Phone: 09 366 0320 New Zealand

Website Builder NZ - Website World