Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Certified Success

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Certified Success

Article excerpt

Byline: PENNY COTTEE

Want to take the next step in your career? A new course can arm you with the skills to move forward

THE problem is, there are very few training courses out there for senior PAs," explains Eleanor Clark, a PA at the Diamond Trading Company in Farringdon.

"When you want to move your career forward, you need higherlevel information."

Sharon Creates, a board-level PA at Virgin Holidays, nods in agreement.

"Continual progression is important - you don't stop wanting to develop your career just because you're already working for directors."

I'm sitting with a group of senior PAs during our lunchbreak from the Project Skills for the PA course, run by Reed Training.

This course is one of the core modules of a new qualification, the Certificate in Professional PA/Secretarial Skills, launched earlier this year. My three lunch companions are among the first batch of candidates to take the qualification.

Aimed at putting senior administrative staff on a career fasttrack, the certificate is accredited by Reed Business School, known primarily over the past 30 years for its business and management training.

The certificate has also just won accreditation from the Institute of Qualified Professional Secretaries. Successful candidates gain automatic affiliate membership.

The morning has been spent defining and understanding projects in an airy, contemporary training centre in Holborn.

There has been a stimulating combination of direct teaching from tutor Allan Wright, an experienced businessman-turnedtrainer, and group work among the 12 delegates. Although officially released for midday refreshment, several delegates have yet to emerge from the training room. They're still working, heads bent over their paired comparison charts, an invaluable priority-clarifying aid for project managers.

Over the tasty buffet (included in the course cost) Eleanor, Sharon, and Carolyn Perkins, an executive assistant working for global technology firm International Rectifier in Newport, explain their different reasons for choosing the certificate.

"I have other qualifications on my CV, but they're old now. I wanted something up-to-date, more relevant," says Eleanor, who supports eight directors. For Carolyn, it's a valuable confirmation of her skills. "I became a PA by accident, so this is a good way to check that I'm doing things right.

It gives your confidence a boost."

Sharon, who is based in Crawley, has found this already. She recently took the Finance for PAs module, and used the information the following day. "In conversation with one of my bosses, the finance director, I immediately understood more about the project under discussion," she recalls. "I was very pleased."

The four core modules - all of which can be taken as standalone one-day courses - are Project Skills for PAs, Finance for PAs, Management Skills for PAs, and Human Resources for PAs. …

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