Personal assistants (PA’s), also known as personal secretaries, personal assistants or, on the highest level, as executive secretaries, keep their employers’ offices running smoothly and efficiently and perform routine tasks so that their employers can attend to more demanding duties.
They support the work of managers and company directors for whom they are employed to undertake a variety of administrative, clerical and managerial tasks. Personal assistants:
Appointments are made for those who wish to consult the employer directly. PA’s update and consult their employer’s dairy and remind them of appointments. They also furnish the employer with all the necessary information that might be needed for telephone calls, visitors and business trips.
Some personal assistants in smaller firms keep personnel files and arrange interviews between employees and management. Book-keeping and the reception of clients are other tasks that may have to be undertaken.
Some personal assistants also undertake personal tasks, such as sending birthday cards and flowers to their employers’ spouses and children on birthdays and anniversaries, the dropping off and collecting of dry cleaning, and typing private and confidential letters for their bosses on personal matters.
Although this occupation is traditionally female, men are also employed as personal or executive assistants.
Skills which personal assistants need are flexibility, adaptability, good interpersonal skills, ability to multitask, organisational skills, communication skills, IT skills and secretarial skills.
Schooling & School Subjects
National Senior Certificate
Basic training for certificates and diplomas is offered at various universities of technology, Colleges for TVET - e.g. Boland, Northlink, South Cape, and private secretarial colleges, e.g. Academy of Learning, Rosebank College, ICESA, Varsity College.
Experience and knowledge are gained through in-service training.
South African Secretaries and PA’s Association
P O Box 2517
Tel: (011) 454-5505 Fax: (011) 454-5501