Sharon Ledger
 
Sharon Ledger
Education Coordinator, Kilmarnock
 
I work on the Personal Assistants Network Scotland project which is a Scottish Government funded project aimed at providing support, guidance and  upskilling to PAs working within Self Directed Support across the whole of Scotland.
 
The PA Network Scotland is a great project that  provides support to a largely ‘hidden’ workforce who are often working in quite isolating conditions either due to location or working conditions. I love that the people we work with are having a positive impact in their employers lives and seeing the relationship between employer/employee is very rewarding.  I love seeing the work we do have a positive impact whether that be in terms of provision of training through to facilitating peer support networks and telephone/email help line.
 
The learners who join the network or attend courses are all keen, enthusiastic and willing to learn in order they are better and more effective in their jobs. I appreciate their openness and willingness to support the network and each other with advice, guidance and general support. Seeing friendships and relationships develop and stories shared is an added benefit to the work we are doing.
 
The PA Network recently delivered training to a group of workers who supported a child with complex needs, the parents had been seeking funding to provide Paed First Aid for their PAs  for some time with little success and we were able to help.  With the funding we have available we provided this training for 12 members of staff all of whom were then more confident and able to deal with emergency situations both at work and in personal life. During the course, the parents and the child attended for lunch and it was rewarding to see the relationship between them and their ‘employees’.  The feedback from the learners was positive and many have gone on to complete other courses with us therefore continuing their own development and learning.
 
It is my hope that the project continues and that Personal Assistants will begin to be confident enough to run their own smaller local networks, supporting each other and feeding into a bigger Scotland wide network. I hope that one day being part of the Personal Assistants Network is recognised within the Social Care industry and that the role of PA is viewed as a career choice.
 
Contact details
WEA Scotland, 118-128 Hill Street, Kilmarnock, KA3 1JL, Tel: 01563 522 551, Email: s.ledger@wea.org.uk