Qualifications case study

Carol is a personal assistant to Philip and has worked for him for eight hours a week for nearly seven years. Carol recently completed her Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care.

“I did leap at the chance, I thought yes I do need to do this. I just think that it’s really important to have a qualification to do what we do”.

Carol, personal assistant

“I don’t think you can develop skills without knowledge. So ‘Skills for Care’ requires knowledge of care”.

Philip, individual employer


It is important that your personal assistant has the training they need to be able to work for you.

If they have the right training you can:

  • be sure your personal assistant can work safely with you
  • meet the requirements of your insurer
  • help your personal assistant to be good at the job and to develop their skills
  • keep up to date with practice, like new laws and better ways of doing things
  • give your personal assistant confidence and a sense of achievement
  • improve your personal assistant’s skills in supporting you and make the job more interesting.

During induction and then performance reviews (supervision) with your personal assistant, you should discuss any training they need to carry out their job properly.

If you have a care plan in place, you should think about what training your personal assistant needs to meet that plan. This should include any clinical responsibilities they may have.

Recording what your PA needs to learn on a training needs form will help you think through what you want your personal assistant to get out of training. Training topics might include:

  • moving and handling
  • food hygiene
  • emergency first aid
  • infection control.

"You should talk to your personal assistant about any training they may need"

Training for the employer

You may also have some learning and development needs, particularly if you are new to employing staff. Your personal assistant is working for you, and you are their manager. Training topics might include:

  • recruitment and selection
  • being a good boss
  • employment law
  • managing and supervising
  • record keeping.

Your direct payment adviser, local authority or local support organisation may be able to help you find training in your local area. Personal Health Budget holders should ask their Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) about available training. Skills for Care has a list of user-led organisations and other support organisations.

NOTE: Keep a record of all training you or your PA complete and make sure you are given a certificate, if one is available.

More information:
There is an example of a training needs form in the templates booklet

Training and qualifications


You or your personal assistant may want to do some more formal training that means you gain a qualification.

Skills for Care has developed Adult social care qualifications in partnership with employers to give individuals the opportunity to learn in a flexible way. The qualifications are made up of a wide range of units that can be mixed and matched to meet different needs, and reflect what workers need to ‘know’ and ‘do’ for their job.

There are three different sizes of qualification:

(1 to 12 credits)

(13 to 36 credits)

(37 credits or more)

Rraining and qualifications

Every unit and qualification in the qualifications and credit framework has a credit value (where one credit represents 10 hours of learning time). Your direct payment adviser, local support organisation, local authority or the organisation that provides any funding you receive will be able to help you and your personal assistant to find a suitable training course and training provider.

More information: You can find out more about adult social care qualifications at:

Money for training and qualifications

If you employ a personal assistant using a direct payment, a Personal Health Budget, your own money or another source of funding, you can apply for a grant from Skills for Care to pay for training for you and/or your personal assistant.

More information: or contact Skills for Care on 0113 245 1275

“I feel that it is important that all employees have training.”

Supporting your personal assistant to gain the skills they need

We have lots of resources to help you think about training for your personal assistant. It is useful whether you already employ a personal assistant or are thinking about employing a personal assistant for the first time.

More information: You can find more information at

What is an Apprenticeship?

An Apprenticeship is a combination of on and off the job training and learning that leads to nationally recognised qualifications. It is another way for your personal assistant to complete training.

Quick facts about Apprenticeships:

  • they are open to people of all ages
  • Apprenticeships aren’t just for new staff, an experienced personal assistant already working for you can also do one
  • an Apprenticeship allows your personal assistant to develop their skills while you get the support you need
  • they usually last between one and two years.

How does an Apprenticeship work?

There are three types of Apprenticeships available under the current system:

  • intermediate level Apprenticeship (level 2)
  • advanced level Apprenticeship (level 3)
  • higher level Apprenticeship (level 5)

From late 2016, the current Apprenticeships will be phased out and replaced by:

  • adult care worker (equivalent to level 2)
  • lead adult care worker (level 3)
  • lead practitioner in adult care (level 4)
  • leader in adult care (level 5)

  • You find out more about Apprenticeships at:

    An Apprenticeship is made up of different parts, including qualifications, to show that someone has a good level of knowledge and understanding and can perform skills that are relevant to their job.

    Under the new system, as well as doing a qualification, the learner will complete an assessment at the end of their Apprenticeship. This is carried out by an independent assessor.

    You can find an organisation to carry out this assessment at:

    How do I pay an apprentice?

    Funding for Apprenticeships is available to learning providers from the Skills Funding Agency.

    How much is available depends on several factors, including the level of Apprenticeship programme you are running and the age of your apprentices. Under the current system, this funding is paid directly to the organisation that provides and supports the Apprenticeship – in most cases this will be a learning provider. The prices charged by learning providers vary and you will be expected to meet the shortfall (if any) between the government funding and the cost of the training.

    Under the new system, employers will need to pay one third of the cost of an Apprenticeship, and the government will pay the remaining two thirds. This will be reviewed again in April 2017.

    As the changes take place, this information will be moved to a new Digital Apprenticeship Service. The government is currently working on this and is not available at the time of publishing this website.

    Some or all of the training fees and other related costs such as PA cover can be funded via Skills for Care’s individual employer funding.

    More information: or contact Skills for Care on 0113 245 1275

    Apprenticeship case study

    “The Apprenticeship scheme is just perfect for training your staff. They have picked up, in my experience, a lot of useful skills and have made my life a lot easier.”

    Rory Moss, individual employer

    The individual employer’s point of view

    Rory Moss uses a personal budget to employ personal assistants (PAs). He has used the Apprenticeship programme for his team of personal support from Cheshire Centre for Independent Living (CCIL). Rory says:

    “Obviously the benefits for the apprentices transfer to me at home and I find things now happen naturally. Things they were doing that used to irritate me they aren’t doing any more and my personal assistants get on with their job much more professionally.”

    The big selling point for Rory was the emphasis on assessors working round his schedule:

    “It’s been completely worked round my convenience and also around my carers’ convenience, fitting in with their timetables as well.”

    The personal assistant’s point of view

    Donna Candland is a personal assistant and apprentice who is one of the team that supports Rory’s day to day needs:

    “Our role with Rory is literally helping him to live in the community and getting him out and about.”

    “We help him employ staff and make sure everyone who works for him does things properly so he doesn’t have to worry about it. Basically we just help him live.”

    Donna has actively embraced her Apprenticeship as a learning and development opportunity gaining an Advanced (level 3) Apprenticeship:

    “Being an apprentice has benefitted me personally. It’s taught me how to do things correctly rather than the way we think they should be done and we follow guidelines now.”

    “They said the Apprenticeship would be structured round and fitted into your work patterns which it was. It worked very well and Total People and the assessors were always on hand. Everything was arranged round our work patterns.”

    How did the programme work

    The programme is overseen by CCIL’s Learning co-ordinator Jonathan Taylor:

    “Accessing the Apprenticeship programme means personal assistants can get recognised qualifications, giving their employers some kind of assurance that they have been trained to a certain standard to provide the care they want to receive. For personal assistants it presents an opportunity to gain a portfolio of qualifications that are recognition of their importance in the wider social care workforce.”

    Rory works closely with a team of apprentice assessors who come to his home to make sure that the apprentices meet all their milestones as they progress through their Apprenticeship. Elycia Averty from Total People (the training provider Rory identified with CCIL as the organisation best suited to deliver the programme the way he wanted) says:

    “We build up a relationship with the employers and we tell them when we are going to come beforehand.”

    “We tell employers exactly what we are going to assess and when we’re actually observing so we don’t intrude on the employer’s personal space. After a couple of times doing that they get used to us being around and they can see us giving feedback to the PAs.”