Aug 21

What is a personal assistant and how can you get started in the role

Posted: 11 August 2021

As part of our #RecruitmentReady spotlight we’ve rounded up information on what’s involved in working as a personal assistant and resources to help you get started.

If you’re interested in becoming a personal assistant (PA), Skills for Care offers a range of support and resources to help you find out if the role is right for you.

It can be very rewarding working as a PA as you go through each day knowing that the support, you’re providing to your individual employer is helping them to live a more fulfilled and independent life.

You’ll work with one or more individuals to support them with their day-to-day life around their home, at work or simply out in their community taking part in activities.


What skills do you need to work as a personal assistant in social care?

Everyone working in social care needs English, number, digital and employability skills including teamwork and problem solving skills. Our ‘What core skills do I need to work in social care?' guide outlines some of the skills you need and has short activities to help you think about transferable skills from your previous experiences.

There’s also some specific skills needed to work in this role which 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 you need to be a personal assistant in social care?

You don’t necessarily need any qualifications to become a personal assistant. What’s really important is that you have the right values and behaviours to work in social care.

Your employer might ask that you have qualifications showing good English and number 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, but this can be done once you start the job.

Experience working in a similar role or with vulnerable adults gained through a work placement, from your personal life or volunteering could also be useful.


How do I get started as a personal assistant in social care?

If you’re interested in working as a personal assistant, there’s lots of advice in our ‘Being a personal assistant’ guide. You can also hear what other PAs have to say under the ‘Hear from PAs’ section of our information hub.

Find your local user led organisation or support organisation who might have a PA register – you can add your details to this register so employers who are looking for a PA can find your details.

Visit our information hub for more information where you can also sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date on the latest guidance, resources and upcoming events.