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00:01 My name is Malini Balluck and I’m PA to the Director of Learning and Visitor Experience at the V&A.
00:08 As a PA, my main role is to manage the diary, set up meetings, both externally, internally, act as the first point of contact for external partners, the public, as well as the museum. I also look after the learning department office, which is slightly boring things like ordering stationery, paper, making sure that the office runs smoothly and has everything that it needs. I also help out with events, so evening lectures, any festivals, big events, things like that.
00:46 The people make the V&A. They’re really helpful, really great and I also love the ethos of the V&A as a whole.
00:58 I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do but I knew it had to be artistic or creative. So I did something quite broad and I did visual culture at Brighton and then I had, after I graduated, I worked for BMW and I also worked as a debt collector, which some people find quite amusing. But managed to get a job here as an intern, via the creative cultural internship programme and once I got my foot in the door, I thought, I’m not leaving. So but even then I didn’t know what department I was going to work for.
01:39 I actually look after the learning department internship, which is a three month paid internship, that we run and that we advertise via our website. It’s a great opportunity to have experience in working in a busy national learning department and we have such an extensive programme, it’s an excellent opportunity for anyone to work within our learning department.
02:08 My internship was with the cultural quarter programme, which is now called the creative employment scheme, which is run by the Arts Council and that’s a six month paid internship and I think now it’s full time, so keep an eye out for it.
02:33 Sometimes it can be quite a challenge but they would have to have that perseverance and also to be very well organised, have excellent time management skills and just be passionate about what they do, whether it be a small task, like stuffing a hundred envelopes. I remember having to sit in a dark room, stuffing loads of envelopes because no-one wanted to do it and did that and then doing really fun stuff, like working on creative quarter, you know, meeting Paul Smith and doing fun things like that. So they sort of go hand in hand and whatever task you’re given, just doing it to the best of your ability.
03:14 If you want to do my job, you would have to be very personable, have excellent time management skills, good organisational skills and be quite open to different challenges, not set in within your certain role description, a lot of the things that I do are quite ad hoc and also have excellent communication skills. You’ll be talking to various different people, from around the museum, but also externally as well. Just one bit of advice that I would say, is that when looking for a job, just remember that all your experience is applicable to the role that you’re applying for.
04:02 END


“I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do but I knew it had to be artistic or creative.” Malini studied visual culture at degree level, then worked at BMW and as a debt collector before starting at the V&A as an intern. She now works in the learning and visitor experience team and her role includes diary and office management, and helping out with events.

More information about Personal assistants and other secretaries

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

6%  male 
94%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Personal assistants and other secretaries provide administrative and secretarial support to individuals, departmental or management teams within organisations.
There are no minimum academic requirements, although entry to professional secretarial courses typically requires GCSEs/S grades. NVQs/SVQs are available in Administration at Levels 2, 3 and 4.
  • Acts as a first point of contact for a manager or team with colleagues and people from outside organisations, fields telephone enquiries, takes and passes on messages;
  • Arranges appointments, keeps business diary, organises travel arrangements, makes reservations and organises a variety of functions;
  • Opens, sorts, distributes and files correspondence (in hard copy and electronic) and deals directly with routine correspondence;
  • Uses appropriate software to produce correspondence, memoranda, reports, presentations and other documents from drafts, handwritten copy or by transcribing dictation;
  • Arranges and attends meetings, takes minutes and prepares records of proceedings;
  • Translates documents and liaises with overseas clients and suppliers.
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