A Personal Assistant works directly with one or more individuals, to support them with various aspects of their daily life so that they can live it in a way they choose. They’re usually employed directly by a person who needs care and support, and who manages and pays for this through a personal budget or with their own money.

This person is their employer (and are often referred to as an ‘individual employer’). They can also be employed by a family member or representative, when the person they’re supporting doesn’t have the physical or mental capacity to be the employer. However, a personal assistant always works directly with the individual they’re supporting. It’s most likely that this should be through an employed arrangement, rather than being self employed. As a personal assistant you’re likely to be involved in many aspects of your employer’s life, and may be asked to provide support in the home, at leisure or at work. The opportunity to focus directly on the needs of an individual, and the diversity of the role, is what often attracts people to this type of work.

The role of a personal assistant is extremely varied and no two jobs will ever be the same. This is because the individual employer can choose exactly how they want you to support them. As a personal assistant you may be supporting an individual employer:
■ at their place of work or education
■ to maintain relationships with family and friends, including supporting them with childcare
■ to meet new people and develop new friendships
■ to get about in the community, by providing transport, driving their car or using public transport
■ to maintain hobbies and interests, like going to the cinema, gigs, swimming or
going on holiday
■ by providing personal care, including support to dress, wash and bathe
■ to communicate their wants and needs
■ by carrying out household tasks like cooking, cleaning, meal preparation,
shopping, organising paperwork, and, in some cases, pet care
■ by going with them to their hospital and other appointments
■ to recover their mental health by helping to manage their anxiety about going out
■ to become healthier after a physical illness, for example, through a better diet
or more exercise
■ to develop a new skill or get a job.

Some personal assistants may carry out, with adequate training, certain health care related tasks. Not all personal assistants will be employed to carry out all of these tasks – it may be that your employer wants support with just one of these tasks. Quite often the role can be about companionship and having a shared interest in things like music, politics or sport

When employing a personal assistant, individual employers often look for someone who is a good personal fit. It’s not always about previous experience and qualifications – what’s really important is that you have the right values and skills to do the job.

Anyone can be a personal assistant as long as they:

  • enjoy helping people to live their life in the way that they choose

  • would like to support others to make a real change to their life

  • are comfortable working on their own or with other personal assistants as part

    of a team

  • have the ability to develop a strong, trusting relationship with their employer

  • understand that they are an employee and not a friend

  • understand that they do not direct the work, but that their employer does

Job satisfaction

Because you’re employed directly by the individual, you’ll support them for the time they need, and tasks can be done well without the need to rush off. This also means you can build a longer term professional relationship with your employer


Individual employers might need support with different parts of their life, at different times of the day, which means you can find a job with hours to suit when you’re able to work, around your other commitments.


There are opportunities to provide a wide range of support for different individual employers, who want or need different things. You could also work with someone who has the same interests as yourself You can also work for more than one person if you want to

Attractive pay and employment conditions

As a personal assistant you can often be better paid than working through an agency, and are more likely to have permanent working hours.

Everyone working in social care needs English, number, digital and employability skills including team work and problem solving skills.

There are also some specific skills needed to work in this role. These include

  • the ability to work on your own initiative

  • good listening and communication skills

  • flexibility and time management

  • good interpersonal skills to work with someone on a one to one basis.


Every role in social care will require you have a certain set of skills. Some of these will be specific to the job you are applying for. However, there are some skills that all social care workers need; these are called core skills.

Core skills include
 English skills
 number skills
 digital skills
 employability skills including team work and problem solving. You might also recognise these as transferable’ or ‘life’ skills.

This guide will
 outline what core skills you need to work in social care
 give you practical examples of how you might use these skills in your day to day role
 ask you to reflect on how you already use these skills, including writing an answer to a mock interview question using the STAR method
 give you practical ideas and examples to help you develop your core skills

Being a personal assistant can involve different tasks. The individual employer will have an idea of the type of person they’re looking for and an outline of what they want them to do. This will usually be set out in a job description. Before applying for a job, read the advert and job description carefully so that you’re clear about the tasks you’re going to be asked to do. It’s important to make sure you can do them all, because, for example, there would be no point in applying for a job that involves going swimming twice a week if you don’t like water. Your employer’s needs could change over time or even day to day, so it’s important to review the job description regularly to make sure that everything works well between you and your employer. As a personal assistant it’s important to be flexible, however if you feel you’re asked to do anything outside of what you expect,it’s vital to have a conversation with your employer to clear up any issues and continue a good working relationship


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