Personal assistant

Personal assistant imageYou’ll work directly with one or more individuals to help them with various aspects of their daily life, to help them live as independently as possible.

You’ll be employed directly by an individual who’s managing and paying for their own care through a social care direct payment or personal budget. Personal assistants usually support individuals in their own home or to go out in the community.

You can be employed directly by one employer or work for a number of different people.

Your role might include:

  • organising and supporting individuals with their social and physical activities
  • booking and going with individuals to appointments
  • helping individuals to 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.
  • managing a team of PAs if you’re in a senior PA role. 

Download our 'Being a personal assistant' guide to find out more about the role, including who can be a PA, the recruitment process and starting work. 


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

There are also some specific skills needed to work in this role. These 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.

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.

It might also be useful to have experience working in a similar role or with vulnerable adults. You could gain this experience through a work placement, from your personal life, through volunteering or as part of a traineeship or apprenticeship.

If you’re interested in working as a personal assistant, there’s lots of advice about finding a role on the Starting your career page or in our Being a personal assistant guide. You could look online or in your local newspaper to find vacancies.

You could also 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 to find your details. 

You could also apply to do an apprenticeship as a personal assistant. You can find out more about social care apprenticeships, including a link to live vacancies, on the Thinking of doing an apprenticeship page.


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

When in your role you could do 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.

Your employer might pay for you to do these qualifications (they could apply for individual employer funding to help), or you could apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to pay for them yourself.

There may be opportunities to progress into senior personal assistant roles where you’re responsible for organising rotas, training or wages. You might also choose to go into other roles such as an advocacy worker, care worker or rehabilitation worker.

Being a personal assistant can also be great experience to support your University application to become a social worker, nurse or occupational therapist. Read more on the Job roles in social care page.



Case studies

  • Kelly and Elem
    Kelly and Elem are PAs and support an elderly woman with dementia to live in her own home.
  • Rob and Caroline
    Robert and Caroline are PAs and support Claire, who has a learning disability, to live at home and go out in the community.
  • Sue Cash
    Sue is a PA and supports Marta, who has a physical disability called freidrichs ataxia, to live independently.
  • Mo Hussain
    Mo is a PA and supports Helen, a young woman with a learning disability, to live everyday life the way she wants.
  • Tuija and Charlotte
    Tuija and Charlotte are PAs and support Sheena who has advanced dementia, to live at home.

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