How to become a personal assistant
By: Philippa Harrington, On: 15 November 2019
If you are a naturally caring individual, then becoming a personal assistant or carer could be a great career choice for you. It is an industry that will always be in heavy demand, and there are plenty of entry-level positions available. But this begs the question, how do you become a personal assistant?
How do you become a personal assistant/care worker?
Employers don’t require you to hold any specific academic qualifications in order to become a personal assistant; you won’t need to hold any particular GCSE, A-Level or University degrees in order to apply for a role. However, it is desirable that you hold an NVQ in Health and Social Care, Levels 1 and 2, as well as proper training in First Aid.
The reason that this NVQ is so desirable is that it prepares you for what life as an adult social care worker is really like. It will open you up to conditions such as dementia, which can be very emotionally and physically tasking.
If you have, or can acquire, any direct work experience within the field, then this will also hold you in good stead. Often, this will be unpaid voluntary work. However, do be aware that this will pay off in the long run when you come up against multiple other personal assistants all applying for the same job.
Another avenue to becoming a personal assistant is to get a place on an apprenticeship scheme. Here, you will learn on the job and get paid slightly above minimum wage as you become accustomed to the role and learn everything you need to know, including training on subjects such as health and safety and basic food hygiene. Personal assistants who hold full UK driving licenses and who own their own car are also highly sought after.
Becoming a personal assistant
Regardless of which route you take, you will also be required to undergo a background check, as employers will need to look into your past medical and criminal records. This will be carried out through the Disclosure and Barring Service.
Prior to becoming a fully accredited personal assistant, you will first need to take part in a 3 month (12 week) induction scheme.
This will involve training and assessment in all aspects of your daily role and will ensure you are fit to work in the industry. They will assess whether you meet all the necessary criteria and have a firm understanding of health and safety, inclusion, safeguarding and equality, both towards patients and also towards yourself and other personal assistants.
Attributes of a desirable personal assistant/care worker
Above we have discussed any necessary training and qualifications you will need in order to begin a career as a personal assistant. But aside from all of this, employers and families will also look for certain qualities and attributes. Having these will help you to gain employment much faster and excel in the role above and beyond what is required.
- Having a genuine passion for helping other people, regardless of their ethnicity, age, race or background.
- Being respectful towards everyone you meet, as well as their homes and possessions.
- Good self-awareness with regards to how your thoughts and actions affect those you work with.
- Having a calm demeanour at all times, even in the face of challenge and adversity.
- Holding a positive and enthusiastic attitude towards your role.
- Always being keen to learn new skills and to develop your understanding of the industry.
- A desire and ability to work well in a team with other personal assistants.
- The ability to think on your feet and overcome challenges without needing constant guidance and support.
A bit more about the role
Depending on which company you work for and who you wish to care for, your daily role will involve caring for multiple people each and every day.
These people might routinely change throughout the year, or you could be working with the same individuals for a number of years. The sort of care you give will depend on your experience and the extent of your training. This can range from basic feeding and cleaning right through to giving medication and treatment for certain ailments.
As an entry level Junior Care Worker, you can expect to earn up to £14,000 per annum. As a qualified and experienced Care Worker, this increases to £18,000 per annum. From there, you can go on to become a Specialist Support Worker, earning upwards of £24,000 per annum. This might differ depending on which organisation you work for and whether or not you decide to progress through to management level roles.