Jul 21

How individual employers are using funding to develop and train their personal assistants

Posted: 29 July 2021

As part of our #SupportingManagers spotlight we spoke with individual employers about how funding has helped them to develop and train their personal assistants.

Katherine, who manages a team of PAs on behalf of her daughter Sarah and has successfully applied for the funding, advises:

Applying to Skills for Care for funding to pay for training can seem like a daunting task - especially when you first open the pages of the forms and guidance notes, but we encourage individual employers to take their time, and do it bit by bit, over a few weeks.

Individual employers should think about what would benefit them, what would improve their quality of life and what skills their personal assistants (PAs) need to help them achieve their goals.

Even non-qualification courses are applicable and hold a range of benefits.

The first image below shows Sarah before, Sarah needed additional support to hold her head up right. The next three images show Sarah taking part in outdoor and craft activities, which she thoroughly enjoys. Sarah was unable to do this before her PAs completed the massage course, which has improved their skills and is improving Sarah’s posture and arm flexibility.

Katherine goes on to say:

Attendance and participation at a variety of courses still supports good practice and a wider skill set.

A skilled PA can enhance enjoyment and participation for the individual employer, ultimately improving their quality of life. Training has also been proven to increase loyalty and commitment to the workplace.

Find out more about our individual employer funding

We also have useful toolkits to support individual employers recruit and manage their PAs


Sarah’s story about how funding resulted in a better quality of life

About Sarah

Sarah is 31, she’s supported by her family and uses a personal health budget (PHB) to employ a team of 10 PAs to support her.

Sarah has an adult-onset degenerative neurological condition called Kufs disease, which manifests in dementia, epilepsy, dysphagia, paralysis, and incontinence.

Although Sarah is nonverbal, she can communicate with facial expressions; she receives food through a feeding tube (PEG) and requires hoists for all transfers. For nearly a year, Sarah was mainly bedbound until she moved into a purpose-built annex and started to receive holistic and massage therapies.


How Sarah used the individual employer funding

Sarah and her family applied for an individual employer funding grant from Skills for Care so that their team could refresh their knowledge, but also learn new skills to support Sarah.

The grant meant that Sarah’s PA team could do various courses including the Care Certificate, training in massage, and attending a cranial and tinnitus workshop, as well as completing training in first aid, moving and assisting, and health and safety.

“The training in massage has already had a big impact on Sarah”

 Katherine also told us:

I just wanted to tell you my daughter has significantly benefited from the massage course; the carers are massaging her limbs daily and doing passive rotation and flexion on her wrists and ankles.

She’s been able to wear shoes for the first time in over a year, due to improved dropped foot. Her posture and arm flexibility has also improved, and she is able to help with craft activities, which she has thoroughly enjoyed.


The cranial and tinnitus workshop has also benefited Sarah.

Katherine said:

This was an excellent course and taught me the basics of fascia relief therapy, which we have been able to practice. We know when Sarah is about to go into seizure activity and by doing the techniques taught, have already averted two seizures in the last week.

Training to meet the needs of individuals can really help PAs to support their employers.     

Katherine explained:

Sarah’s quality of life has improved quite dramatically in just a few weeks of therapy and the funding for the courses has enabled this to be achieved. The skills of the PAs have also improved, and they feel able to take on therapies with confidence. Thank you so much.

Sarah is not able to communicate many words verbally, but she will say ‘No’ when the PAs say, ‘Shall we stop now?’ She also communicates in smiles, and she smiles more in a week now, than a whole year of being bedbound!