WORCESTERSHIRE County Council is encouraging more people in the county to become personal care assistants.

There is a growing demand for their services, led by the fact more people with adult social care needs now receive personal budgets.

This means they buy the services identified in their care plan, and have a choice over what services they buy.

Von Reeve, head of personalisation, said: "More and more people are using their personal budgets to employ personal care assistants so we need more people to offer this service and this will give our residents a much wider choice."

A personal assistant is employed by anyone who needs social care, providing support with practical tasks such as washing, cooking, eating and drinking, and getting dressed. The role also involves supporting people to go out and about socially. They can work directly with one or more service users and can work around their family commitments, full or part time.

Jan Buckley, who has worked as a personal care assistant for the past nine years, said: "It really is a rewarding job and I enjoy it very much. I used to care for my mother and then decided to turn it into a career.

"The job is great because it can fit around your own personal life as well as providing a regular source of income," she added.

Councillor Sheila Blagg, cabinet member for adult social care, said: "Many people rely on personal assistants to maintain their quality of life and, as we care for more people in their own homes, this will be a growing jobs sector which would appeal to many people such as Jan who has used her personal experience to gain a job, students interested in working irregular hours, stay-at-home mums and dads who want a job which will fit around children at school and retired people wanting to stay work active or earn money to top up their pension.

"All people supported to become personal care assistants will need to have CRB checks and will be regularly monitored to ensure the services they provide are up to the required standard and quality."

For more details visit whub.org.uk/carewise.