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Testing innovative approaches to recruiting PAs: recruitment models from four pilot projects


The demand for personal assistants (PAs) is increasing. Our latest intelligence suggests that between 2008 and 2016 the number of people receiving direct payments increased from 65,000 to 235,000, of whom around a third directly employ their own PAs.

However, in many areas recruiting PAs can be challenging.

To meet this growing demand, we funded four pilot projects to test innovative approaches to recruiting PAs.


My Life - Pathways to employment

My Liferun Pathways to Employment where they recruit potential PAs from the local community, and invite them to five sessions to learn more about the role and develop their skills.

They offer an introduction session which clearly outlines their expectations, and assess candidates through a ‘positive attitude’ application process to ensure they have the right values and behaviours.

Alongside the sessions, the programme also offers PAs the chance to meet potential employers, and those who complete it are ‘matched’ to paid jobs or voluntary work.

Individual employers who want to be matched with PAs pay a small membership fee to the organisation.

Following their success on a local level, they did a project to train others to deliver the Pathways to Employment model. In total 20 delegates attended from across England, including clinical commissioning groups in East Lancashire, Bolton, Wigan and Hampshire.

Read the case study and download the recruitment model.


Disability Sheffield – Promoting the PA role through taught sessions to students

Disability Sheffield worked with Sheffield Hallam University to deliver six taught sessions about the PA role to students on relevant courses.

The sessions included:

  • Personal budgets and personal health budgets
  • Terminology and differences between the PA roles and other social care roles
  • What is the role of a PA
  • Being a PA
  • How to become a PA
  • Personal assistants sharing their experiences.

They also promoted PA vacancies on the UniHub and attended careers events at the university.

They found that more people visited the Disability Sheffield website since the project started, and 21 people have registered to be a PA, with 19 who’ve partially completed the application.

Read the case study and download the recruitment model.


SHIP Transforming Care Partnership – Promoting the PA role to local students

SHIP TCP worked with University of Portsmouth and University of Southampton to develop promotional materials, such as videos and leaflets, to promote the PA role to students.

They did a talk to students about the PA role - Caroline who worked as a PA whilst being a student spoke at this event to inspire others from her own experience.

They also worked with local schools and colleges and presented at the Careers Advisor Consortium to raise awareness of the PA role.

The posters were sent to local GP practices and other community places such as village noticeboards, and they used social media to promote the videos.

Read the case study and download the recruitment model.


Nottinghamshire County Council – promoting the PA role to rural and hard to reach communities

Nottinghamshire County Councildid targeted promotional activities in rural communities and with hard to reach groups to increase the number of PAs on their directory.

They worked with Rural Action Nottinghamshire to run five promotional events across the county. The events included information about the PA role, what skills and qualities they need and a demonstration of their PA accreditation programme, Support with Confidence.

They also worked with the National Deaf Society to make their online information and induction training accessible to the deaf community.

They exceeded their target of 24 people going through the programme, with 66 applicants throughout the project.

Read the case study and download the recruitment model.



Find out more

We have lots of resources to help you recruit and retain PAs on our information hub.

Don’t forget we have funding for adults over 18 who employ their own PAs through a direct payment or with their own money, to pay for training which might include courses around ‘being a good boss.’ You can also apply for money to train your PAs.

Find out more and apply