What is a PA?

A personal assistant is someone employed to assist a  disabled child or adult in their  day-to-day living. PAs provide tailor-made support to meet an individual’s social and personal care needs and therefore no two PAs roles and responsibilities will be exactly the same.  The tasks involved in a PAs job description can range from accompanying a disabled child swimming,  taking a disabled adult shopping to more intimate needs such as feeding and personal care.

Who can become a PA?

At the Direct Payment Service we see a whole range of people employed as PAs . There are very few restrictions when it comes to being a PA:

  • You must be eligible to work within the UK
  • You cannot be employed as a PA if you are living in the same house as the recipient of the direct payments
  • You must be willing to undergo a DBS check in order to become a PA

Do I need any specific training or qualifications in order to become a PA?

The skill requirements of each PA are completely dependent on the support needs of the individual they are working with.  Any specific experience or training that is required will be made clear within the job description. The types of training your employer may request you have experience in include:

  • Working with disabled children
  • Managing challenging behaviour
  • Lifting and handling

Some PA roles may not have any particular training requirements at all, however, as you can appreciate it is incredibly important that the person you are working with is happy and safe and therefore any additional training you may have will be an asset when applying for a PA role.

What may I be asked to do?

Here are some examples of the sorts of things you may be asked to do as a PA:

  • Help with showering/washing
  • Help with moving in and out of bed
  • Help with dressing
  • Help using the toilet or changing pads
  • Accompany the child or young adult to social activities

Is it right for me?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I enjoy working with children and or young adults?
  • Do I have a positive attitude towards disability?
  • Am I looking for a job with flexible hours?
  • Am I open and willing to learn new skills?
  • Do I want to make a positive difference to a family’s life?

If you have answered yes to the following questions then becoming a PA may well be a great option for you. If so, why not read our become a PA section to find out what to do next?