Skills for Care

Every individual employer is different, and they’ll have unique support requirements and goals they want to achieve with their personal assistant. Individual employers need to make sure that they provide their personal assistant with appropriate training and employment support to be able to work with them effectively.

There are processes and tools to help maximise a personal assistant’s employment from day one. Making use of them will help a personal assistant understand their role and what’s required of them. For individual employers, they can be an opportunity to share what’s important to them, what they want to get out of the employment and when.   

On this page you’ll find resources and guidance to help once a personal assistant starts work, including with supervision, being a good employer and training opportunities.  


When your personal assistant starts, you should plan an induction to explain what you want them to do, how you want things to be done and introducing them to their workplace. 

You may also want to talk about training and how you can address any gaps in their skills and knowledge. 

Make a list of things that you need to tell your new personal assistant on their first day. For example: 

  • go through the contract of employment 

  • explain your house rules (if you have any), for example, wearing slippers or indoor shoes, using a phone and eating arrangements 

  • show them where things are kept 

  • tell them when they can take breaks 

  • explain any recording that they need to do, for example, notes about their shift or notes about the finances 

  • explain what will happen on their next shift if it is different to what they may expect, for example, attending meetings, appointments or social activities. 


Set aside time with your new personal assistant on their first day. Use the guide and template to agree a way of how you will work together. 

After a month, have a supervision to talk about how they are finding work. 

Think about how you can best keep control – you are the boss and your personal assistant should work with you and at your pace. 

Arrange training before they start or before their first lone shift. Where you can afford to do so, have a well-established personal assistant on the rota with them and get them to shadow their work. 

Keep a record of what your personal assistant does during their induction. If they feel that you are asking them to do something that is risky or that goes against what they have been trained to do, they have the right to say no. 

Download 'A way of agreeing how we will work together' guide and template

Care Certificate 

You may want your new (or existing) personal assistant(s) to complete the Care Certificate. 

The Care Certificate is the standards that set out the knowledge, skills and behaviours that all care workers need. This will help them to learn about their job and understand the way that you want them to carry out their work. 

Some of the standards might not be relevant to your personal assistant, but you can use the ones that are as part of their induction. 

Standards set out the knowledge, skills and behaviours that all care workers need.  


Meet with your personal assistant at set times, to talk about the job. This could be, for example, once a month during the probationary period and every three or six months afterwards. 

This is called a supervision. Supervisions are a two-way discussions between you and your personal assistant, that help you to assess if your personal assistant is doing the job in the way that you want, give you the chance to give constructive feedback and to praise staff for their good work and provide an opportunity to address any problems and find better ways to do things, such as by doing training. 


Getting support with supervision 

You could do training to learn how to run supervisions. Your local support organisation or learning provider could help you to find training. Applying for funding can also be an option. 

You could also use a service to carry out supervisions. Your social care or health direct payment adviser, local support organisation or the organisation that provides any funding that you receive may be able to help you to find this type of service. 

You might consider this if being an employer is new to you and you want to get an understanding of supervision, to have an impartial person involved if things are going wrong or if someone is feeling manipulated or unsure. 


Being a good employer is important and may can mean that your personal assistant(s) will want to keep working for you for a long time. See tips to help you to be a good employer. 

Work in line with the Manager Induction Standards 

The Manager Induction Standards (MIS) set out what a manager/individual employer needs to know and understand to perform well in their role. They are designed to help you to recognise and develop your management skills, so that you can be a good employer. 

Learn more about the Manager Induction Standards  

Value and respect your personal assistant 

If your personal assistant(s) are happy in their work and fairly treated, they are more likely to keep working with you. 

  • Make sure that you are paying your personal assistant(s) at least the ‘going rate’. Ideally, people’s pay should also reflect their skills, qualifications and responsibilities. 

  • You may choose to pay a higher rate to a personal assistant who does extra or more difficult tasks. 

  • Pay your personal assistants correctly and on time. 

  • Provide other benefits for working with you, for example, extra holidays, support for training and qualifications and flexible working. 


Be flexible 

Be as flexible as you can with your personal assistant’s needs and preferences for working hours, so long as your needs are met. Make sure that your personal assistant does not feel the need to work longer hours than necessary. 

Good communication 

Communication is about passing on information, developing understanding and building relationships. Crucially, it is more about listening than talking. 

As part of their induction, tell your personal assistant about preferred methods of communication, if they need to make use of interpreters, equipment or visual aids and when to seek guidance from your family or other people that know you well. 

You should not employ a personal assistant unless you, and they, are confident that you can understand each other, or will be able to after training or instruction. 

Where possible, try to make sure that small matters that may be causing problems are dealt with as early as possible. This will stop them escalating into a bigger problem. 

Set clear boundaries 

Your relationship with your personal assistant(s) may not be like more formal employer/employee relationships. 

Sometimes, personal assistants can end up feeling more like friends than employees. This can be a good thing as it means that there is a bit more ‘give and take’ on both sides. But it can also mean that if things  don’t go to plan the relationship may make it difficult to deal with. 

When you employ a personal assistant, think about how you will make  boundaries clear, and how you will deal with it if the boundaries are over-stepped. This is a good thing to talk about in induction and supervision. 

Looking after your money 

Set clear boundaries about looking after your money and savings. Here are some tips to help. 

  • Ask your personal assistant to keep receipts when they do shopping for you. 

  • Be clear and precise about where and how to pay your bills. Not everybody has dealt with household finances before. 

  • It may be useful to keep a small sum available, for example £20, that your personal assistant can access if they need to buy any items or pay small bills, such as a window cleaner. 

  • If you need your personal assistant to have access to your money, set up a separate bank account and only pay in the amount that you want them to access. 

There are some things that you should not do, including: 

  • never lend or borrow money to or from your personal assistant 

  • do not ask your personal assistant to use their money to shop for you 

  • do not leave money around the house, other than that you want your personal assistant to access 

  • do not reveal your bank PIN number to anybody that is not authorised 

  • do not allow your personal assistant to become a signatory on your bank or building society account 

  • never advance your personal assistant’s wages or get involved with your personal assistant’s financial affairs 

  • personal assistants should never become the person who signs financial documents on your behalf (appointee). 

More information  


It is important that your personal assistant has the training that they need, to be able to work for you.  

If you have a care plan in place, you should think about what training your personal assistant needs to meet that plan. This should include any clinical responsibilities that they have. 

You should talk about training during induction and supervision. Record what they need to learn on a training needs form – you can download a sample form.

Training topics might include, moving and handling, food hygiene, emergency first aid, communication skills, personal resilience and infection control.

Your personal assistant could also do more formal training where they gain a qualification. 

Your social care or health direct payment adviser, local support organisation or the organisation that provides any funding you receive will be able to help you to find a suitable training course and learning provider. 

Keep a record of any training that your personal assistant does and ask for a copy of the certificate if they have one. 

Apply for funding to pay for training.   

Training for you, as an employer 

You might also want to do some training to help you to be a better employer, particularly if you are new to employing staff. 

Training topics might include recruitment and selection, being a good boss, employment law, managing and supervising or record keeping.

Your social care or health direct payment adviser, local authority or local support organisation may be able to help you find training in your local area. 

Personal Health Budget holders should ask the organisation that provides your personal health budget about available training. 

Find out more and download an application form. 

Find funded training available through user-led organisations

An apprenticeship is a combination of on and off-the-job training and learning, that leads to nationally recognised qualifications. It is another way for your personal assistant to complete training. 

They are open to people of all ages, and are not just for new staff – an experienced personal assistant that is already working for you can also do one. They usually last between one and two years. 

There are different levels of apprenticeships, depending on the role and responsibilities of your personal assistant: 

  • Adult care worker (equivalent to level 2) 

  • Lead Adult Care Worker (level 3)  

  • Lead Practitioner in Adult Care (level 4) 

  • Leader in Adult Care (level 5). 

Find out more about apprenticeships

At the end of the apprenticeship, the learner will complete an assessment. This is carried out by an independent assessor.

Find an organisation to carry out this assessment. 


Funding for apprenticeships 

Big organisations now pay a levy (a kind of tax) to cover the costs of apprenticeships. 

As an individual employer, it is likely that you would only be asked to pay 5% of the cost of training (if started after 1 April 2019). 

You can ask for money to cover this cost through Skills for Care’s individual employer fund

The remaining 95% of the cost of the training will be paid by the Government. You should speak to your learning provider about arranging payments, accessing funding and whether you need to use the Apprenticeship Service (AS).

Find out more about apprenticeship funding on the Government website




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