When looking for care provision, more and more people are beginning to bypass domiciliary care agencies in favour of employing their own Personal Assistants (PAs). As a result the PA workforce is growing every day.
Many PAs do have some level of basic training, particularly if they have previously worked for a care agency. Unfortunately there is no way of ensuring this is up to date, and it may not provide the skills and knowledge needed to work as a PA.
Compared to traditional care workers, PAs typically have much more responsibility for dealing with situations on a day to day basis. Mainly this is because there is no “manager” a PA can turn to for advice – their only employer is the person they’re supporting. This can lead to some difficult issues, and is why we recommend that anyone working as a PA undergoes as much training as they have access to.
Here’s outline what training is available, and how to get involved…
Active Independence online training courses
To find out more about being a PA you will find it very useful to work through our online course The role of a PA.
It contains short video clips of PAs talking about their experiences, and the kinds of situations you can come up against. The test follows a multiple choice format, takes no more than a couple of hours, and it’s really simple to use. Upon completion all participants receive a certificate, and will have a good general understanding of the kind of work required of a PA.
Do you need further training?
There is no set national qualification to work as a PA. Some local authorities (councils) and some CCGs (local NHS commissioners) may insist on certain training, such as safeguarding, and some have a full PA training course which all PAs must complete before starting work.
Whether or not training is required in your area, we strongly encourage all PAs to regularly discuss training needs with their employer. This will:
- Make sure both PA and employer are working together safely and responsibly
- Help people develop personally and professionally
- Help people meet others in the same boat, so they can share learning and experiences
- Improve the quality of the support provision
- Keep knowledge up to date
At some point in the future it may be that PAs will be required to do the Care Certificate. This is the national standard requirement of all health and social care staff working in the UK. It’s not a requirement for PAs yet, but it’s very possible this will change.
How to find training courses
Active independence has been working with local authorities and other organisations to put on specially designed training workshops for PAs. The ones we have delivered so far have been very successful and have included;
- Advanced diabetes
- Foot care
- First aid in the home
- Safer restraints
We hope to run more of these workshops over the coming year.
Free Council run training
The council provides a full programme of FREE training courses for the care workforce which any PA can attend. These need to be booked online by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any difficulty doing this in Doncaster or Rotherham please don’t hesitate to call us, or call the bookings team directly on 01709 255706.
Doncaster’s training calendar can now also be found online.
Doncaster Council is currently working on a useful guide explaining in more detail the training, learning and development available for PAs in the area. We will let you know where to find this as soon as it’s available.
If your employer needs to hire another PA to cover your shift whilst you attend any training then Skills for Care (see below) can provide funding to cover all these additional costs through something called the Individual Employer Workforce Development Fund.
There is also funding available if your employers care package is funded through Health. We can support your employer to apply for this, but please bear in mind it takes a few weeks to sort out. Please get in touch with us using the details below if you’d like to find out more about this.
Skills for Care
Skills for Care are a national charity whose aim is to help to create a better led, skilled and more valued care workforce.
They provide practical tools and support to help adult social care organisations and individual employers in England to recruit, develop and support their workers. Their website is packed full of information, advice and guidance and has a separate section specifically designed for PAs and individual employers.
Further information and advice
As always, please do feel free to contact us if you need any help or advice.