For new and existing Personal Assistants
A Personal Assistant (PA) is someone who is employed by an individual to provide support. The type of support provided by a Personal Assistant varies and is directed by the person they are supporting.
Like any other career, you should think carefully about whether being a Personal Assistant is right for you, fits your values, availability, personal skills and professional skills. A good place to start if you’re considering becoming a Personal Assistant is Skills for Care’s Think Care Carers website.
This website contains a great deal of very useful information that will help you decide whether you would like to become a personal Assistant. It can help you see the potential for your career progression as PA, give you advice on how to start, and give you access to employment advisors, to answer any questions you may have.
Anyone can be a Personal Assistant. Like any job there are certain qualities that Personal Assistants need to have. So if you think you have the qualities listed below, then a career as a Personal Assistant could be for you!
If you believe you have the qualities listed below, why not head to the Question of Care interactive video challenge to see what a career in care is like.
The daily tasks that a Personal Assistant carries out can vary a lot depending on the kind of support your employer would like you to provide. Some Personal Assistants can have quite a hands-off role, helping their employer with smaller things that they may struggle with without their PA’s support. Whilst other Personal Assistants can have much more involved roles, providing high levels of support and care to their employer. What you will do is totally dependent on what your employer would like support with, but some of things the Personal Assistants do include:
Going shopping, or supporting their employer to go shopping; from helping to write the shopping list, getting their employer ready to leave the house, driving their employer to the shops and helping to put the shopping away when they get home.
Travelling to day groups with the employer, such as lunch clubs, day centres or activity groups.
Helping to cook meals throughout the day for their employer, and if needed, helping them to eat it by cutting up their food and feeding them.
Helping their employer to communicate with people through communication methods not widely used, and by making phone calls or writing emails on their behalf.
Helping to keep their employers home clean and tidy and accessible.
Helping their employer to develop their personal and professional skills, such as support looking for a job or preparing for a job interview.
Provide help with personal care such as showering and going to the toilet.
Training is extremely valuable to Personal Assistants, as it allows you to not only carry out your role in a safer and more efficient way, but it also helps to build up your CV, making you more attractive to prospective employers in the future. There are many types of training a PA can attend, from local accredited courses dealing with topics like Medication Administration or First Aid, to national diplomas in Health and Social Care. Visit our Training Resources page to see what kinds of training might be available to you.
If you are an unpaid carer over 18, caring for or supporting a disabled friend or family member, then you may also be eligible to receive a Personal Budget. Your will attend a Carers Assessment carried out by your local authority, where they will assess if you are eligible for any extra support. For more information about Carers Assessments, please visit the NHS Carers Assessment webpage. The kind of support that you may be eligible for could include:
Skills for Care is a national organisation that works with employers, Government and partners to ensure social care has the right people, skills and support required to deliver the highest quality care and support now and in the future. They offer a wide array of useful information for Personal Assistants.
This comprehensive toolkit explains and offers useful information and advice on many areas of being a Personal Assistant.
The toolkit is an extremely useful resource, whether you are already a PA, or are thinking of becoming one. In the toolkit you’ll find valuable insight and information on topics such as:
UNISON is the UK’s largest union, serving more than 1.3 million members. They represent full-time and part-time staff who provide public services, although they may be employed in both the public and private sectors.
This booklet details your rights as an employee during your work as a Personal Assistant. The working relationship between an employer and a Personal Assistant is in many ways unique, and so it is extremely important that PAs are aware of what is and isn’t expected from both them and their employer in this relationship
Making sure that you take care of your mental is very important. Just as with physical health, mental health problems can make it very difficult for a Personal Assistant to provide the support required, and can also have a hugely negative effect on a PA’s home life. It is important that both you and your employer feel comfortable enough to talk about any mental health issues you have, and that you are proactive in trying to address them.
The Mental Health Foundation is one of the UKs leading mental health charities, and their How to Support Mental Health at Work guide is an invaluable tool for PAs and Employers alike. Being a Personal Assistant can come with unique stresses and situations, and it is important to take good care of both your own and your employer’s mental health.
This guide will help you to:
Mind is a national mental health charity working to address mental health through support, advice, information and policy change. They How to support staff who are experiencing a mental health problem factsheet is extremely useful for employers or colleagues who have a staff member in need of mental health support.
Sheffield Carers Centre is a local independent charity founded in 1994, that is also affiliated to the national Carers Trust charity. They provide a range of high quality services to unpaid adult carers in Sheffield; and are committed to raising the profile of caring and making a difference to carers’ lives.
The Disability Sheffield website has a dedicated Support for Individual Employers and Personal Assistants webpage. The page contains information and resources including training opportunities, digital security information, information on employing a PA and more.
The Penderels Trust PA Community Centre website has an extremely useful and comprehensive range of support resources for Personal Assistants. The website includes resources covering a PA’s entire journey, from finding out about the work a PA does and whether they’d be suitable, to the employment process and on to further training, personal wellbeing and more.
The Penderels PA Employment page covers information and guidance on employment law, rights that you have as a PA and where to get more support if you need it. This might be useful if you are already working as a PA and have an issue or question or if you are thinking of being a PA and want to understand more about how your employment will work.
RUILS Independent Living are a charity run by and for disabled people. They support disabled children, adults and the elderly to live independent lives by providing information, advice, advocacy, practical support, activities, and befriending.
They have created a series of videos for Personal Assistants and Individual Employers detailing the work done by PAs and he working relationship between a PA and their Employer.