Half of personal assistants in Scotland have received no training in their role and only 40% are qualified, a study shows.
Employers and PAs are faced with a lack of accessible and relevant courses as well as a lack of funding, according to the research.
The Scottish government commissioned the survey of about 500 personal assistants and a similar number of employers to analyse the workforce and employment issues regarding self-directed support.
It found the main skills and knowledge gaps among employers were employment law and overall management skills, while PAs required further training in communication, independent living and disability rights, and knowledge of specific impairments.
However, the research found most employers and PAs felt strongly that they should not require formal qualifications, and there were mixed views about the importance of training.
Most of the PAs, who typically worked 18 hours a week and were paid £8.45 an hour, were asked to carry out personal and domestic care. Other tasks included helping their employers to participate in leisure and social activities, employment, and education.
The study concluded that most self-directed support packages were working “smoothly” but there was a lack of support for employers and PAs.
It recommended creating a role of national training co-ordinator who would produce a single programme of training for employers and PAs, and dedicated training grants separate from care and support funding.