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Training and Development

Do I need qualifications to be a Personal Assistant?

You do not usually need any formal qualifications to work as a Personal Assistant in Care. However, individual employers may have certain criteria around this.  For example, your employer might have a medical condition that you might require specific skills for, or they 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 play an important role in learning and development and there are a wide variety available within adult social care. 

What types of qualifications are there?

You can study for diplomas which are larger qualifications and help you to develop the skills and knowledge required to work well in a health and social care role. Diplomas have optional units which enable you to develop understanding and skills in areas you are most interested in, or that will be of most benefit to you. 

There is also a range of smaller awards and certificates available which allow you 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 you 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, you will need to sign up for a free PA Web account. 

Advantages of learning and development

There are many advantages of pursing training and qualifications, as a Personal Assistant in Care these may include: 

  • Learn new skills 
  • Improve the quality of your work 
  • Gain transferable knowledge 
  • Keep up to date with latest guidance and laws
  • Enable you to carry out more specialised support 
  • Boost your confidence 
  • Enhance your working relationship with your employer 

PA development is also beneficial for your employer – as your skills and confidence increase, they will receive better support from you. It also shows that you are motivated and willing to learn. 

Things to consider 

  1. How much time it will take to complete and if someone will need to cover your shift while you are learning 
  2. How much the learning will cost and whether you can apply for funding 
  3. Whether or not you will get paid by your employer whilst you are learning 

Identifying training needs

There are various ways you can identify training needs: 

  • Your employer may have certain training criteria you 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 your employer is a personal health budget recipient, there may be specific health care tasks in their support or care plan that you need training to complete. 
  • Consider your employer’s situation and how it might change over time. There may be some training or learning that you could do now to prepare you. 
  • Think about any gaps in your knowledge or skillset that could be filled by training. 
  • If something happens at work and you do not know how to deal with it, learn from it by attending a training session so that you are confident with dealing with it if it happens again.
  • Regular reviews with your employer, whether these are informal discussions or arranged reviews, you should have the opportunity to talk about your learning and development. 

Choosing a qualification and learning provider

You should discuss with your employer 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 your employer is a personal health budget recipient, the NHS organisation issuing their 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 employer’s budget. 

Once you have selected a training provider and have completed your training, you should receive an attendance or completion certificate for your records. 

Keep a record

It is important to keep a record of the training you complete as evidence and for future use when applying for new jobs.

If you are a registered member of PA Web, you can use our Training Log template.

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