Carer and Personal Assistant Careers – How do I become one?

Published on July 12, 2019

Are you looking to become a private carer or personal assistant but not sure where to start? How can you work towards an exciting new career in this field?

Caring for and helping the elderly and people who are less independent than they used to be can be a very rewarding job. Many private home carers and personal assistants say that helping to support their clients and building relationships with them, makes their job very rewarding and satisfying.

So what are the main attributes needed, and what training and qualifications would you need?

The main attributes needed by a carer or personal assistant are being a ‘people person’ and having the desire to help others. The main role of a home carer or personal assistant is to provide support for your client, to help them in their daily lives, and to assist them in staying as independent as possible. A private carer or personal assistant is not just for elderly people – you could be working with children, people with disabilities or people with learning difficulties. Normal duties could include:

  • Providing personal care (washing, dressing, feeding)
  • Assisting with medication
  • Housekeeping
  • Running errands
  • Cooking
  • Providing companionship and emotional support

Characteristics and personal attributes:

Becoming a private carer or personal assistant is more about your characteristics and personal attributes than your qualifications. A private carer or personal assistant needs to be friendly, approachable, reliable and understanding – your personal attributes should include:

  • A passion for helping others
  • Empathetic and understanding
  • Reliability and punctuality – you may be the only person your client sees in a day, and they may be relying on you to arrive on time to help them with certain tasks
  • Being respectful of your clients home and belongings
  • Being supporting and encouraging towards your client
  • A people-person – good interpersonal and communication skills.

Training and qualifications:

There are many options of training courses you could do to give you the skills needed to become a private carer or personal assistant, however this career does not require any formal qualifications. Many people take a college course such as a National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) in Health and Social Care, which is a formal qualification and looks great on your CV! Training and qualifications for becoming a carer are mostly done on the job, so if you have worked as a carer before then you may have done a lot of training already. If you are looking to become a private carer or personal assistant you should look into doing courses such as: manual handling, first aid and safeguarding of vulnerable adults. It is a great idea to keep a file of all of your training courses and certificates to show to your client, also make sure they are all on your CV! Once you start your new career as a private carer or personal assistant, you will want to keep your training up to date, and you may find that you need more specialist training tailored specifically to your client, for example dementia training.

DBS and References

When clients hire a private carer or personal assistant who works closely with them in their own home they may want to see their DBS and references from previous employers.

A DBS shows any criminal records you may have so it is important for clients to see this is you are going to be working in their home. You can apply for an enhanced DBS through us.

When deciding who to hire, many clients will want to contact your previous employers, this can help them to get a better understanding of your work ethic and what you are like as an employee. It is a good idea to keep a list of your previous employers contact details ready for when the client asks to contact them, also keep any written references from your previous employers.

So how do I become a carer or personal assistant?

There are various things you can do to aid your career as a carer or personal assistant:

  • Qualifications/Training – You could start by taking a training course or doing a qualification at college. People learn differently, classroom training may suit some, but others may prefer a more practical learning style. If you are looking to become a private home carer and work by yourself, you should look into which courses you need to take to be able to manage your clients needs. It is important that you think about which training option suits you before embarking on your career path as a carer or personal assistant.
  • References – You should also collect your references from your previous employer (especially ones within the same industry). Make sure you have contact details for all of your previous employers in case your client wants to contact them.
  • DBS – Get an enhanced DBS to ensure your new client that you have a clear criminal background. An enhanced DBS can be obtained through us – find out how here.
  • The right characteristics – most importantly, when considering a career as a carer or personal assistant, make sure you have the right characteristics and personal attributes and have a passion for helping others.

Being a carer or personal assistant is a very rewarding career that can make such a difference to your clients life, it is a great feeling helping someone out who really needs your support. It is also a very practical career where no two days are the same and you won’t find yourself cooped up in an office!

If you’d like to register with our agency, you can apply for jobs now or in the future.  We have lots of amazing jobs around the world – why not kick start your career now!

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