PAs can study for diplomas which are larger qualifications and help them to develop the skills and knowledge required to work well in a health and social care role. Diplomas have optional units which enable PAs to develop understanding and skills in areas they are most interested in, or that will be of most benefit to them.
PA Training and Development
Do you need qualifications to be a Personal Assistant?
People do not usually need any formal qualifications to work as a Personal Assistant in Care. However, as an employer you may have certain criteria around this. For example, you could have a medical condition that your PA might require specific skills for, or you may need help getting out of bed and therefore need a Personal Assistant who has knowledge of moving and handling.
While formal qualifications are not a necessity, they can play an important role in a PA’s learning and development and there are a wide variety available within adult social care.
What types of qualifications are there?
There is also a range of smaller awards and certificates available which allow PAs to focus on a particular area or topic. Many of these can be completed online.
Short courses can be a few days, one day or half a day in length and can give PAs working knowledge of a particular condition or process. It might be that the course needs to be repeated regularly, e.g. a first aid at work certificate is only valid for three years.
PA Web has a number of eLearning training courses for Personal Assistants in Care and people who are considering becoming Personal Assistants. To access the eLearning modules, PAs will need to sign up for a free PA Web account.
Advantages of learning and development
There are many advantages of your PA pursuing training and qualifications and it is also beneficial to you as an employer. Training can:
- Teach your PA new skills
- Keep them up to date with latest guidance and laws
- Enable them to carry out more specialised support
- Boost their confidence
In turn, these benefits can:
- Enhance your working relationship
- Improve the quality of their work
- Mean that you receive better support from your PA.
Things to consider
- How much time it will take your PA to complete and if someone will need to cover their shift while they are learning
- How much the learning will cost and whether you can apply for funding
- Whether or not you will pay your PA whilst they are learning
Identifying training needs
There are various ways you can identify training needs:
- You may have certain training criteria that your PA must meet, such as training or awareness for specific conditions. This might be referred to in the job description as ‘must have’ or ‘mandatory training’.
- If you are a personal health budget recipient, there may be specific health care tasks in your support or care plan that your PA needs training to complete.
- Consider your situation and how it might change over time. There may be some training or learning that your PA could do now to prepare.
- Think about any gaps in your PA’s knowledge or skillset that could be filled by training.
- If something happens and your PA does not know how to deal with it, they could attend a training session so that they are confident with dealing with it if it happens again.
- Regular reviews with your PA, whether these are informal discussions or arranged reviews, your PA should have the opportunity to talk about their learning and development with you.
Choosing a qualification and learning provider
You should discuss with your PA who is going to arrange the learning and which learning provider you will use.
Skills for Care have information about the various Health and Social Care qualifications that are available, information about funding and a list of their endorsed providers.
If you are looking for other training, such as short courses, try searching online or contact local training companies to see what they can offer.
Local authorities, unions, direct payment support organisations and other local organisations may be able to support you in finding a suitable training course and provider.
If you are a personal health budget recipient, the NHS organisation issuing your budget may be able to offer support to find training or offer their own training. If any training has been identified in the care planning process, funding for this should be included in your budget.
Once you or your PA has selected a training provider and your PA has completed their training, they should receive an attendance or completion certificate for their records.
If you employ your own care and support through a personal budget, personal health budget or using your own money, you can apply for funding from Skills for Care to train and develop yourself as an individual employer and/or develop the skills of your Personal Assistants.