The UK’s first undergraduate and masters course have been launched for Personal Assistants (PA) to enable them to lend valuable support to managers in a wider range of complex areas. The new courses, designed specifically to fit around their professional lives, will allow PAs to learn from their workplace.
Middlesex University has created a BA in Business Administration for Personal Assistants and a MA in Management for Personal Assistants, which aim to meet the growing demand for high level qualifications after a survey showed a massive 86 percent of CEOs identified the added value an academic qualification would have to their PA and the support they provide.
The courses, developed in partnership with and accredited by the Association of Personal Assistants (APA), will ensure PAs are equipped to support senior managers in areas like financial analysis, project management and market development.
Courses involve a unique combination of distance learning and learning at work, meaning students will not have to give up their job to study or devote lots of time to attending traditional classes and lectures. Making the course flexible and accessible was a key priority after a survey showed that 77 percent of PAs questioned said the flexibility of the course would influence their decision to enrol in a degree.
Study will involve e-learning and also projects carried out in the workplace – projects which benefit both the PA and the employer. Further optional modules will allow PAs to tailor their study to their own industry.
Dr Paul Griseri, the course leader at Middlesex University said: “We know from major surveys that business leaders want highly qualified PAs and PAs want flexible study that recognises the wide range of tasks they carry out.
“The best PAs are an integral part of every successful business and taking advantage of these high level development opportunities will allow them to offer high level support, and of course boost their CV and career prospects.”
The BA in Business Administration for Personal Assistants will allow PAs to enter at one of the three points depending on their experience and prior learning. The MA in Management for Personal Assistants is for more experienced PAs and the high level of personal project work will provide PAs with a strong strategic understanding of their company and industry they work in, enabling them to take on substantial projects within their organisation.
Gareth Osborne, Director General of APA said: “This is a major development for the PA profession and recognises the breadth of knowledge and skill needed today to support the leader of any organisation. The role of a PA is diverse, challenging and business critical and the ability to create a first class skills-base adds enormous value to the career pathway for PAs.”
A launch event will be held on Tuesday 17th May at 6pm at Holborn Bars, London, where interested PAs can learn more about the courses, see demonstrations of the online learning materials and discuss their specific needs.
 The APA Business Leaders Survey 2010. Supported by Monster, Reed and Totaljobs.
 Annual PA Survey 2010