shutterstock_118928809Personal Assistants Role, Length of Service and Hours of Work

Full-time Personal Assistants are initially expected to offer at least a four, six or eight months’ commitment (but other contracts can be discussed at the interview stage).

Personal Assistants usually work a two-day on, two-day off rota system. The shift pattern alternates each week to allow the PAs to have every other long weekend off. (So PAs normally work Mon & Tues, then Fri, Sat, Sun, then Wed, Thurs, then Mon, Tues then Fri, Sat, Sun etc). This shift pattern is very popular because it means that PAs normally work only seven days out of every fourteen. Shifts are also flexible so changes can easily be made if both PAs are in agreement.

Full-time Personal Assistants usually work a flexible ten-hour shift each day that starts at 9.00 a.m. There are three meal breaks totally 3 hours during this period and unlike many other schemes the Personal Assistants are not required to sleep over at the disabled person’s home.

Part-time and Cover Personal Assistants are paid £15 an hour (or £200 a day) to cover for holidays, hand-over periods, sickness and training so please state clearly on your application form whether you would like to work full-time or only a few days a week and which days you are available.

During your “shift” you will assist the person you support with every aspect of their lives when they need physical help. This is likely to include personal care, such as washing and dressing, as well as help with cooking, cleaning, going out shopping, to meet friends, to the pub, to the cinema, to sports events or to work. The job can be very varied, because you’ll be helping someone with all aspects of their life; new situations will come up, you’ll gain a valuable insight into what it is like living with an impairment and you’ll discover a lot about yourself.

The work isn’t easy; it requires patience, a sense of humour and the ability to see things from another person’s perspective. Sometimes it will be hectic and busy and other times it will be quiet. The ILS is a unique opportunity to share the life of a disabled person, and you’ll gain invaluable experience both for yourself and for your future job prospects – because other employers and course tutors value user-directed work-experience very highly.

Another important feature of working for the Independent Living Scheme is Personal Assistants do not have to spend every hour of each shift they work in the company of the user they support. Users often require assistance at different times every day and to enable Personal Assistants the freedom to get away from a user’s home (and to allow users some privacy) the PA flat is nearby so that PAs can go there and also be contacted when required.

Furthermore, because the Personal Assistants only work seven days out of every fourteen, there is a lot of free time available. Some Personal Assistants use their days off to explore London, do voluntary work, attend further education courses or pursue their own leisure interests. Other PAs earn extra money for themselves by working extra days on the scheme or for other local disabled people but, like the users, each PA is different and it would be up to you to decide how you would most like to spend your free time.

Place of Work

Will be at the home of the service user in Purley (CR8) or wherever the user is each day.

Previous Work Experience

No training or work experience is necessary, as on the job training is provided.

Health and Safety

Personal Assistants are expected to have no current serious health problems and are expected to adhere to health and safety guidelines which will be explained as part of the initial induction programme.

Users on the ILS are encouraged to take control of their own lives so we are looking for Personal Assistants who are patient, tolerant and sensitive to other people’s needs. It is important to allow the users to make all the important life decisions that will affect them so Personal Assistants should also be flexible and adaptable. They should be able to work as a member of a team and be prepared to share accommodation with the other PA supporting the same user.

Other benefits we offer Personal Assistants

The Scheme gives Personal Assistants a better understanding of the problems faced by disabled people as they assist them. It is often a useful introduction for students seeking a career in Social Care, Nursing or other health professions like Physiotherapy or Occupational Therapy. The Independent Living Scheme could also benefit graduates leaving university unsure of a future career path or visitors from other countries who need somewhere to work and stay.

We provide four weeks paid holiday. Most Personal Assistants start post-graduate courses or go into other full-time work when they leave the ILS. Our references have been very useful in the past and will continue to be offered when required.

Selection Process

Please email completed application forms with ‘Independent Living Scheme’ in the subject box to; and

1. Service Users short-list the prospective Personal Assistants from information given on the applications so priority will be given to those who are able to email a completed form.

  1. 2. Shortlisted candidates are asked to attend an interview. This usually takes place at the nearest Employment Service (or the Service User’s home) and will be conducted by the Service User wherever possible.

3. Offers are made to the successful candidates.

Due to budget constraints it may not be possible to write to all unsuccessful applicants. If applicants have not been called for interview within eight weeks of returning completed application forms, unfortunately, they should assume that their applications have been unsuccessful this time.

There are presently full-time and part-time vacancies available. We will start interviews for these posts as soon as completed applications are received, so we would be grateful if you would email your form back as soon as possible.

We also expect to have other vacancies throughout the year so please state on your application when you will be available to start.