Personal assistant

Personal assistants are employed directly by an individual to help them with various aspects of their daily life.

What is it?

Personal care assistants are employed directly by an individual to help them with various aspects of their daily life, so they can live as independently as possible. Personal care assistants usually support individuals in their own homes as well as out in the community.

What might the role involve?

Your role might involve:

  • organising and supporting individuals with their social and physical activities
  • booking and accompanying individuals to appointments
  • helping individuals get to work, college or university
  • helping with personal care such as showering and dressing (although not all PA roles involve personal care)
  • supporting with tasks around the house such as shopping, cleaning and cooking
  • monitoring their health, for example measuring body temperatures or administering medication.

What skills do I need?

Everyone working in social care needs a good standard of English, as well as numeracy and digital skills. You’ll need to enjoy working as part of a team and be good at problem solving.

Additional skills required to be a personal assistant include:

  • the ability to work on your own initiative
  • good listening and communication skills
  • flexibility and time management
  • good interpersonal skills to work with someone on a one-to-one basis

What experience and qualifications do I need?

You don’t necessarily need any qualifications to become a personal assistant. What’s really important is that you’re a kind, compassionate and thoughtful person. Your employer might ask that you have qualifications showing good English and numeracy skills such as GCSE A-C in English and Maths. It might also be helpful to have a social care qualification such as a Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care. Don’t worry if you don’t have these qualifications but if you are interested in getting them, you can work towards them once you start the job.

How do I progress?

When you start in your role, you should do an induction which includes necessary training such as health and safety, first aid and moving and handling. You might also receive specific training depending on their individual care needs.

Beyond this there could be opportunities to progress by doing a vocational qualification such as a Diploma in Health and Social Care or a continuing professional development qualification such as dementia, end of life, or autism care. There may also be opportunities to progress into senior personal assistant roles where you’re responsible for organising rotas, training or wages, or you may choose to go into other roles such as advocacy worker, care worker or rehabilitation worker.

Being a personal care assistant can also be great experience to support your university application in becoming a social worker, nurse or occupational therapist.

Explore more job roles

Care at home

Supporting people in their own homes

Anyone at any stage of life could need care and support while living at home and in their community. This includes people with learning disabilities, mental health conditions, sensory impairment or physical disabilities and older people.

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Residential care

Supporting people living in nursing/care homes

Residential care can often (but not always) involve working with people with health conditions such as dementia and other complex needs that make it difficult for them to live independently in their own home.

Find out more

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