Jul 16

'If you want good PAs you have to grow them'

Posted: 25 July 2016

‘If you want good PAs you have to grow them’

Jean supports her daughter, Augustina, to employ a team of personal assistants (PAs) using a personal health budget.

Here, Jean tells us how applying for funding to train the PAs has made a big difference to the team and ultimately has improved the quality of care they provide to Augustina.

She tells us …

My daughter, who is profoundly complex and has multiple health problems, is 28 and has been receiving help from PAs since she was 15.

Having used agency workers for numerous years, we decided to employ a team of PAs to enable us to recruit staff who have the right skills and values to provide good care, and so we could train them to the standard that we require… and we have never looked back.

When funding became available from Skills for Care, I jumped at the opportunity to further train and add to the personal development of our PAs.

Myself and four PAs benefited from the training.

The training made the PAs think! It got them out of ‘auto mode’ and gave them all different perspectives, ideas, tips and new thought processes. It also gave the PAs the knowledge that they could study; none of the PAs had studied seriously for many years. They grew.

As for myself, it was a great to have help with assessment of the care certificate, so I can support new PAs through their induction. I also did a Microsoft Excel course which was an instant benefit, as all my computer skills have been self- taught. One single click has saved us many hours of work. Well worth every penny spent.

I asked the PAs to tell me how they felt they had benefited from the training. Their answers included:

‘we were made to think, that was the hardest part’

‘it taught us how to build a team’

‘it taught us how our actions affect the whole team and service’

‘it taught me to change my thinking, if told I got something wrong to think how   
 I could improve instead of sulking!’

‘it gave me more confidence’

‘it taught me how to interpret communication differently’.

The biggest thing for me was that their confidence grew, and this has made a big difference to how they support my daughter. They all now realise that working as a team and supporting each other makes the job easier. The standard of care has gone up and this is something I constantly work on to achieve.

I once asked the head teacher of my daughter’s special school where she recruited staff from and her reply was ‘it doesn’t really matter, we grow our staff’. She was exactly right and if you want good PAs you have to grow them!


Training workers is a great way to develop and motivate your staff to improve the standard of care they provide.

If you employ your own PAs through a personal health budget, direct payment or with your own money, you can apply for funding for training. You can find out more about the funding, including examples of what the funding can be used for, and download the application form from www.skillsforcare.org.uk/iefunding

Skills for Care also has lots of information for individuals who employ their own PAs, including help with finding and managing PAs, on their information hub www.skillsforcare.org.uk/iepahub