Picking Your Pathway

PYP-278ARC and Independent Living Alternatives (ILA) received funding from Skills for Care to look at the training needed by Personal Assistants.

A Personal Assistant (PA) is someone who is employed directly to work with a disabled person to provide personal assistance which may be both personal care such as bathing and dressing or practical help to pay bills and do leisure activities.

Usually the disabled person pays for a PA through a Direct Payment, the Independent Living Fund, an Individual Budget or Access to Work. A PA may also be called a Support Worker or an Enabler.

The Picking Your Pathway project’s main aim was to develop a training matrix for Personal Assistants and Personal Assistant Employers. Each PA Employer is an individual and therefore has individual needs, the purpose of Picking Your Pathway is to look at available training, identify gaps and make recommendations on which awards could be developed for PAs.

It is necessary to clarify what is meant by training in the context of this project.

We are not talking about the training you give to PAs to help them to help you in the way you like.We are talking about the skills and knowledge your PAs need but that they can also use in another job (transferable skills).For example: tea-making: the training is the fact that a kettle is used to boil water and a teabag is put in a cup and boiled water is poured over it. This is a transferable skill because a PA can take it to any tea-making situation. However, the fact that you like your tea strong/weak with or without milk is your personal preference.

The same principle applies to lifting techniques. How you like to transfer is personal preference; the transferable skill is the understanding of what constitutes a safe handling technique.

The Picking Your Pathway project:

  • Held a series of consultation workshops throughout England in 2008 with PA Employers and PAs to identify good training that is currently available, training that is used but not a good fit for the role and to identify training needs for which no training is currently available.
  • Carried out telephone consultations and used an electronic questionnaire to gather information.
  • Used the information gathered to create a training website for PAs. The website will be used to determine what training might be needed by their PA and where they can find that training.
  • Written a report on the training gaps and included recommendations for award structures, matching with NOS (National Occupational Standards) and CIS.
  • Developed the Picking Your Pathway website so that training information can be accessed by both PAs and their Employers. ARC’s aim is for the Picking Your Pathway website to expand to include all training providers and be the first stop for anyone searching for PA training.
  • The website has been piloted by PAs and employers and final adjustments made. The Picking Your Pathway website is linked to the PA Net website but can be accessed directly.
  • The database is continually being updated as new training providers are recommended to us.

The Picking Your Pathway project is funded by the Skills for Care New Types of Worker National Fund

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