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Personal assistant

Alternative titles for this job include PA, executive secretary, executive assistant

Personal assistants carry out support tasks for individuals and managers including administration, diary management and event planning.

Average salary (a year)

£18,000 Starter

to

£35,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings occasionally

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How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a personal assistant

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working your way into the role
  • specialist courses run by private training organisations

University

You could do a business-related foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More Information

College

You could take a college qualification to help you get a job as a junior personal assistant. Courses include:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Business Support
  • Level 3 Diploma in Business Administration
  • T Level in Management and Administration

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T level
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More Information

Apprenticeship

You could do an advanced level apprenticeship in business administration and work your way up to a personal assistant position.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information

Work

You could find a temporary job to get administration experience. You could then apply for permanent roles.

If you're already working as an administrator or secretary, you could become a personal assistant through company training and promotion.

To get work, you'll usually need GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths, A levels, or equivalent qualifications.

Volunteering

While you are studying towards qualifications, it's helpful to get some paid or voluntary experience to develop your administration and organisational skills. This could be through agency work, or volunteering in the office of a local charity.

You can find volunteering opportunities through The National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Do IT.

Other Routes

You could do training courses with a private training provider or through a professional body like the Institute of Administrative Management.

More Information

Career tips

Knowledge of the main IT office software packages, typing and shorthand will give you an advantage when applying for this role.

You may find some useful courses in The Skills Toolkit.

Further information

You can find out more about working and training in business administration from the Institute of Administrative Management.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • administration skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • knowledge of English language
  • business management skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could:

  • screen telephone calls and handle enquiries
  • organise your manager's diary and make appointments
  • deal with letters and emails
  • arrange meetings
  • organise and maintain office systems
  • take notes at meetings, produce reports and presentations
  • make travel arrangements
  • look after visitors
  • supervise other admin staff

Working environment

You could work in an office.

You may need to wear smart business dress.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could move to a larger organisation or work for a more senior manager.

You could also move into an executive assistant (EA) role with more responsibility.

You could supervise and train junior admin professionals.

If you have specific industry knowledge like legal, medical or financial, you could take on specialist PA roles.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Purchasing Assistant

  • Wage: £174.00 - £328.40 Weekly
  • Location:

Data Apprentice

  • Wage: £142.35 Weekly
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Courses In England

Certificate in Business Administration

  • Provider: NCG
  • Start date: 31 January 2022
  • Location: London

Business and Administration Certificate

  • Provider: ISLE OF WIGHT COLLEGE
  • Start date: 01 September 2022
  • Location: Newport

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