Is the role for me?
Why be a Personal Assistant?
There are lots of benefits of working as a Personal Assistant:
The role can be very varied:
- Can support employer in different aspects of their life
- Can work with multiple employers, supporting different individuals who want or need different things
- Can work with people who have the same interests as you
It can have lots of flexibility:
- Can find work that suits your hours
- Can work for more than one employer if you want to
There can be attractive pay and employment conditions:
- Often paid better than working via an agency
- More likely to have permanent working hours
- Often no need for formal qualifications or specific level of education
It has a high level of job satisfaction:
- Opportunity to work with one person
- Build a longer-term professional relationship with employer
- Work with an employer you have a good connection with
- Make a difference to someone’s life
Hannah and Caitlin's story...
Would I be a good Personal Assistant?
Anyone can be a Personal Assistant, as long as they have the following qualities:
Enjoy helping people to live their life in the way that they choose
The purpose of working as a Personal Assistant is to help an individual live their life as fully and independently as possible while ensuring that they are safe and supported. You need to respect the individual’s choices and be willing to support them with how they choose to live their life.
Are comfortable working on their own or with other Personal Assistants as part of a team
Sometimes, you may be asked to work in a team of Personal Assistants. This may be where an individual needs 24/7 support or where an individual has chosen to employ more than one person to support them. It is important that you can work with other Personal Assistants in part of a team so that you can support the individual as well as possible and provide consistent support.
Understand that your employer directs the work
While working as a Personal Assistant in the care and support industry, it is important to remember that you are the employee and the person you support, or their representative, is your employer. The work that you do is decided by the employer – they decide how they would like you to support them. As their employee you must be able to respect this and follow instructions.
You must be able to listen to instructions and understand what your employer is asking of you. Listening is also an important part of supporting them, knowing what they need and what you can do, while being empathetic and understanding.
Be personal yet professional
While it is important to maintain a professional working relationship with your employer, you will spend a lot of time with this person and should ensure that they feel comfortable, therefore you should balance your professionalism with friendliness and good interpersonal skills.
Treat people with respect
As a Personal Assistant, you must be able to treat people with a high level of respect and dignity.
Be responsible and reliable
Due to the type of relationship between an employer and a Personal Assistant, there needs to be a high level of trust between the two. You must ensure that you do what you say you will do, that you turn up to work at the agreed time and that you exhibit sensible behaviour.
Flexibility is a key requirement for Personal Assistants. There may be times when your employer needs your support on different days, or at short notice.
As time goes by, it may be that your role alters slightly – your employer’s support needs may change and with this they may ask you to support them with different tasks.
However, if you are ever asked to do something you are uncomfortable with or that you feel falls outside of your role/what you have previously agreed with your employer, it is important that you have a conversation with your employer to resolve any issues and maintain a good working relationship.
Be willing to learn
It is important to remember that every person is different, therefore each person you support will have different requirements. These requirements may involve you learning new skills, e.g. medication administration or moving and handling. It is important that you are open to learning new skills so that you can support the individual to the best of your ability.
Have a commitment to equality and diversity
To support a disabled person, you should have an understanding, or be willing to understand, the challenges faced by disabled people. You should be committed to equality and diversity and believe that everyone should be treated equally and with respect.
Encourage and enable the person you support