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Personal assistant

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Summary of occupation

Personal assistants offer support to managers and senior professionals by undertaking clerical and administrative duties. They answer phone calls and take messages, book appointments, prepare travel itineraries, and make arrangements for appointments and meetings. They may also help to recruit, train and supervise administrative staff, organise the filing and management of data, and organise business functions on behalf of their manager.

Personal assistants are needed around the state, from offices in our busy business districts to regional centres and even in remote area such as mining facilities.

ANZSCO description: Performs liaison, coordination and  organisational tasks in support of Managers and Professionals.
Alternative names: Executive Secretary, Office Professional, PA
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A personal assistant needs:

  • a desire to assist people in their work duties
  • a friendly and polite demeanour
  • good communication, writing and listening skills
  • planning and organisational skills
  • administrative skills
  • decision-making and problem-solving skills
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Working conditions

Personal assistants work in offices. They may travel to attend meetings or to help co-ordinate the work activities of senior professionals. They usually work regular office hours, but may be required to work longer hours at times.

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Salary details

On average, personal assistants can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a personal assistant develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Personal assistants use office equipment such as computers, and need to be familiar with word processing, data management and presentation development software. They also use photocopiers and faxes, and may also spend a lot of the time on the phone.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a personal assistant without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in business administration.

The Certificate III and IV in Business Administration are widely available from TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

You can also complete a traineeship. The junior personal assistant and executive personal assistant traineeships usually take 12 months to complete.  

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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