“The best part of being a PA is watching these young people blossom in new environments, find little bits of independence where they can, and of course, the laughter and smiles.”
Megan Ashwell, explains why she loves being a Personal Assistant in Care (PA).
“I’m Megg, I’m 24, I work in Ramsbottom and my main hobby is sewing. I spend the majority of my wage on any and everything sewing! I love quilting and dressmaking, and I currently have a long list of UFOs (unfinished objects). I love sewing for the people I support and picking fabrics based on their interests. I have a 7-month-old pup, a German Shepherd called Buddy who takes up a lot of my spare time. Buddy loves my employer Erin more than he loves me. My claim to fame is that I’ve been on stage at Manchester Arena and sung with Carrie Underwood.
I have been a Personal Assistant in Care for 6 years. I got my job through Kaleidoscope Brokerage after I hijacked my sisters’ job interview as I was looking for a part time job alongside studies. I soon decided there was no way this couldn’t be my full time job. I currently work for 8 different employers, all young disabled people, and each person is completely different. What they all have in common is that we do what they want to do. The employer decides how they want to use their hours, what they want to do, and who they want to spend their time with. I have been interviewed by some employers that decided I wasn’t the right fit for them and their needs, but don’t despair, when you match with a person or family that is right, it’s worth the wait. I’ve been with one of my employers for 5 and a half years. It’s a great feeling when you find someone you click with.
I do a mixture of ‘social’ hours and ‘care’ hours. Care hours involve personal care, helping someone with the toilet, with washing, or to eat. I enjoy social hours the best, you’re getting paid to have fun. Part of my job description is to make sure my employers have a great time with the activities they want to do. Obviously COVID19 has affected this, but we go to the cinema, bowling, or out for meals. Shopping at Primark is a personal favourite for a couple of my clients. We sometimes do day trips to Blackpool, out swimming, Ice Cream Farm, Safari – basically anything and everything your employer wants to do. There is work to be done of course while you’re having fun - supporting your employer to access these as independently as possible, helping them communicate their needs to staff members, helping with money, or ordering food. The most important thing is to make sure your employer is safe, so whilst it’s fun, it’s hard work too.
There is nothing I don’t enjoy about my job, and that’s not to say that there aren’t some difficult times where emotions run high but we take the good with the bad. The best part of being a PA is watching these young people blossom in new environments, find little bits of independence where they can, and of course, the laughter and smiles. My favourite workday is the last Sunday of every month, where we support four people to take part in social activities together. They’re all good friends, and it’s a pleasure to support them to socialise with each other.
If you’re considering this line of work, contact your local brokerage organisation or council (how to find these details is below). The process to sign up is really simple, and you pick and choose which jobs you can apply for after reading a short description of what is expected of you. Don’t delay because you won’t regret it. This job isn’t what you’d think a caring role would be, there’s no uniforms, and you’re not stuck in one place, like you would be with a care home. Being a PA is amazing, every day is different, you’ll love it.”