Being a personal assistant for care

A personal assistant for care (PA) is someone who is employed to provide personal and domestic everyday support needed to help people to lead an independent personal and social life at home.

PAs perform a variety of tasks, including domestic and personal care, helping with child care, looking after pets or leisure and social activities. It’s an important role and can be an extremely rewarding career, as you will be supporting someone to live an independent and active personal and social life.

This can include people with physical or learning disabilities, older people, families with children with disabilities or people with mental health issues. It’s a very flexible role, you can work for just one or, if you prefer, a number of people, building up your hours and earning more.

The wide range of tasks a PA may be asked to carry out might include:

  • help with personal care, such as washing and dressing
  • support to access community, social and leisure activities
  • support with medication
  • help with household tasks, such as cleaning and laundry
  • driving
  • preparing meals
  • support with communication
  • looking after pets

Your specific role will depend on the requirements of the employer or person you are a PA for.

Skills you will need

You will need to be able to develop a strong and trusting relationship with the person you are supporting and enjoy helping them to live life the way they choose. Your role is not to make decisions for them, but to help them live an independent life. A PA needs to have excellent listening and communication skills, along with good literacy, numeracy and interpersonal skills.

You must be responsible, reliable and respectful, always encouraging, enabling and treating people with dignity. Some PAs can work in a coaching capacity – helping their employers develop their skills and independence.

How it works

The disabled person that requires the support or their representative will be your employer and provide you with an employment contract. You may be required to have a DBS check and you will need to show you have the right to work in the UK.

Your wages will be paid through a payroll company from the direct payment that your employer or their representative receives from the council. You will be entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid holiday a year.

Training and support

Working as a PA can provide invaluable experience, as well as training and qualifications, to assist you to further your career in health or social care. PAs can access online training through the council’s training department.

PA employers can also access training for their PAs through Skills for Care. Discuss your training requirements with your employer.