Secretarial/PA Courses: Getting Your Foot in the Door of the Job Market

How to Forge a Career as a PA

In the quest for career success, university education is sometimes regarded as the Holy Grail, but it’s certainly not suitable or desirable for everyone. Just as adventurers may discover hidden gems and breathtaking views by venturing off the beaten track, individuals exploring alternative paths to employment could uncover unique opportunities that align better with their aspirations and strengths via a secretarial or PA course.
Apart from anything else, the university journey demands significant financial investment, often leading to weighty student loans that can take years to repay. Additionally, the sheer number of graduates emerging from universities each year saturates the job market, resulting in a sea of similar qualifications and experiences. It can feel like traversing a crowded highway where individuality is overshadowed, making it often exceptionally difficult for graduates to distinguish themselves and showcase their unique capabilities. In such a homogenised environment, standing out from the crowd becomes a significant challenge.

Choosing to explore alternative paths, such as secretarial courses, represents a decision to forge a personalised route towards professional success.

Opting to forgo university and directly entering the workforce offers a distinct set of advantages, particularly in the realm of practical, real-life skills. Engaging in hands-on experiences from the outset fosters a deep understanding of industry-specific practices and cultivates a robust work ethic. This pathway allows individuals to develop crucial skills such as effective communication, problem-solving, and time management in real-world scenarios, rather than theoretical settings. It provides the opportunity to build a professional network early on, gaining mentorship and insights from seasoned colleagues.

This practical exposure often leads to a quicker adaptation to the workplace environment, as individuals learn to navigate the complexities of their chosen field, negotiate salaries, manage finances, and understand workplace dynamics—all of which are essential for long-term career growth and stability. By immersing themselves in the workforce, they cultivate a unique skill set and gain experiences that differentiate them from their graduate peers, making them a valuable asset to employers seeking pragmatic, seasoned and confident professionals.

Elevate Your Career: Comprehensive Training for Aspiring and Transitioning Professionals

While it’s true that certain Personal Assistant (PA) and Executive Assistant (EA) roles in sectors like corporate finance, private equity and family offices often demand candidates with degrees from top universities, there simply is no one-size-fits-all path to a successful PA or EA career.

Secretarial courses, offered by reputable institutions can certainly pave the way for careers as Receptionists, Team Assistants, Personal Assistants (PAs) and Executive Assistants (EAs) at leading companies. Many organisations greatly value such courses and regard candidates with this training as highly prized professionals. Secretarial courses can be great for individuals with strong A-Levels who are eager to enter the workforce immediately and get a foot in the door at a top-tier company. From full-time diplomas to online PA qualifications, these courses offer a practical, industry-focused education that equips individuals with tangible skills and sets them apart in the competitive job market. The key lies in daring to explore different avenues and forging a path that leads to genuine fulfilment and success.


Consider Samantha who left school after A-levels, immediately enrolled in a nine-month secretarial course, and quickly secured employment as a Receptionist in a leading luxury goods company. Now consider Mia, who took a gap year after school, followed by three years to complete a degree. On graduation, Mia is now four ‘work’ years behind Samantha, who has been promoted twice and is now working as PA to the influential and highly respected Managing Director of a world-class advertising agency.

But secretarial courses are not just beneficial for those at the start of their career; they are also ideal for individuals looking to retrain in a new field or keen to take a refresher course after a career break. Whether you’re transitioning to a new career or enhancing your current skill set, these courses provide the essential building blocks needed to forge successful career paths as a Receptionist, Team Assistant, PA, Private PA, EA or Chief of Staff.

PA and Secretarial Courses you might want to consider

Oxford Media and Business School (OMBS)

The Oxford Media and Business School (OMBS) offers a one-year Professional Business Diploma, which emphasises the development of strong administrative abilities coupled with business acumen. Students benefit from comprehensive training in business communication, software proficiency, event managing, digital marketing and media. OMBS’s strong industry connections often lead to excellent job placement opportunities in roles such as Executive Assistant (EA), Personal Assistant (PA) and Private PA, making it an attractive choice for aspiring professionals. And if you’re still not convinced, 95% of 2023 graduates were in employment just 3 months after graduating!


Quest Professional

Quest Professional provides targeted, practical training that is designed to equip students with the essential skills needed in today’s fast-paced job market. They offer a 9-month Professional Diploma Program for recent school graduates, as well as a 3-month intensive Graduate Training Program for university degree holders. Additionally, they provide two-week Back to Work courses, designed to refresh essential skills for individuals returning to the workforce following a career break. With a strong emphasis on real-world experience, their courses are tailored to bridge the gap between academic learning and professional application. With a dedicated recruitment arm and excellent links to top London employers, Quest Professional boasts an impressive 97% employment rate for its students upon course completion, many of whom secure positions as EAs and PAs.

Pitman Training

Pitman Training is long established and renowned for its flexible and career-focused PA and secretary courses . They offer a wide range of programs covering essential administration and technical-skills training such as Microsoft Office proficiency. Pitman’s flexible, self-paced learning approach enables students to embark on their studies around existing commitments. Moreover, their practical curriculum ensures that graduates are equipped to excel in real-world Executive Assistant (EA), Personal Assistant (PA) and administrative positions, providing a solid foundation for career advancement.


Today’s PA 

Today’s PA have been voted the ‘Best Assistant Training Provider in the UK’ seven years running at the PA Voice Awards. Their programs are designed to engage and entertain, as well as inform, and they include modules on the latest technological tools and software used in modern office environments, such as Microsoft Office packages, One Note, Teams, Forms and Planner, keeping their students at the cutting edge of industry standards. They have trained EAs and PAs from over 4000 companies in over 80 countries around the world, and they boast an impressive list of clients, including Sky, HSBC, BBC, Adidas, Facebook, Warner Brothers, KPMG, and Nike.

Contact Us

Earning a Seat at the Table: The Growing Importance of Executive Assistants

“My Goal was to empower EAs to believe in themselves and arm them with the tools they need to ‘have a seat at the table’ and it is still my goal to this day” – Amanda Vinci – CEO of the EA Institute

Now is an excellent time to consider becoming a Personal Assistant (PA), Private PA or Executive Assistant (EA).

What do PA and EA roles have to offer?

  • Variety: Personal Assistants (PAs) and Executive Assistants (EAs) often find themselves engaged in diverse tasks and responsibilities, which can range from managing schedules and coordinating events to handling important communications and providing strategic support to executives. This variety keeps the role dynamic and intellectually stimulating, providing continuous challenges that foster personal growth and development.  
  • Direct Impact and Influence: PAs and EAs play a crucial role in supporting senior executives and leaders within organisations. They are not just administrative support; they are strategic partners who contribute to decision-making processes and help to drive business objectives forward. In today’s corporate landscape, PAs and EAs are increasingly recognised for their valuable insights and contributions, earning them a “seat at the table” in important discussions. 
  • Working Closely with Leaders: PAs and EAs work closely with directors, enabling them to gain exposure to high-level operations. These experiences cultivate valuable leadership, communication and problem-solving skills that are highly transferable across all industries, and can result in roles in management and directorships.
  • Job Security and Opportunities: As organisations recognise the critical role of administrative support in driving efficiency and productivity, the demand for skilled PAs and EAs continues to rise across all sectors. Skilled PAs and EAs can significantly influence the success of an organisation. 
It is an exciting and rewarding time to enter the field of administrative support. If you are interested in pursuing a career as a Receptionist, Team Assistant, Personal Assistant, Private PA, Executive Assistant or Chief of Staff, Knightsbridge Recruitment would love to help. Please contact one of our recruitment consultants on 020 7468 0400 or email us.
Knightsbridge Recruitment is a boutique consultancy which has been placing stand-out candidates in the most sought after permanent, temporary and part-time Executive Assistant, Personal Assistant, Private PA and executive office support jobs in London, for over 35 years.  If you would like advice on hiring and retaining exceptional staff, we would love to help - please call us.
Contact Us
Search Jobs

This may also interest you

The Modern Secretary: traditional skills in a new world

What is the role of a secretary in the modern world?...
Read on

What it takes to be a Travelling PA

A Travelling PA needs to be intelligent, adaptable, full of energy and really willing. They will usually work for a HNWI or family who travel...
Read on

Recent Posts

How to Interview an Executive Assistant and Personal Assistant

Finding the perfect Executive Assistant or PA is akin to finding the perfect co-pilot – someone who understands your journey and helps navigate the complexities with ease. This isn’t just another hire; this is the person who will become your right hand, your confidant, and often, your gatekeeper. The success of your endeavours often hinges on the seamless collaboration between you and your EA or PA, making the interview process not only critical but potentially transformative. ...

How a Recruitment Agency Can Help You Find a PA Job

Completing school, university, or an apprenticeship marks an exciting milestone, opening up a world of career possibilities for your future. However, even before reaching your final days, it can feel like you are suddenly faced with the daunting task of finding your first job....

Secretarial/PA Courses: Getting Your Foot in the Door of the Job Market

In the quest for career success, university education is sometimes regarded as the Holy Grail, but it’s certainly not suitable or desirable for everyone. Just as adventurers may discover hidden gems and breathtaking views by venturing off the beaten track, individuals exploring alternative paths to employment could uncover unique opportunities that align better with their aspirations and strengths via a secretarial or PA course....

Looking for a job ?