It is with great pleasure that I announce Tuuli Liiskmaa ‘s promotion to Au Pair Program Manager. Tuuli started with Smartaupairs in summer 2008 on a work placement/intern program from Lancaster University, where she was in her 3rd year of a degree in Business Management.
Tuuli is originally from Estonia and grew up in Finland, giving her a head-start in cross cultural understanding. Lancaster University added to the multi-cultural experience as their student community is made up of almost 100 different nationalities.
She was keen to find a work placement in a small yet ambitious company and when we interviewed her for the role we were impressed by her both her skills and her drive to succeed. From the very beginning, she showed a positive and innovative approach and her results driven capabilities have much contributed to the success of Smartaupairs.
As we have many more plans for success and growth for Smartaupairs, we were very keen to offer Tuuli this promotion. She will be fully responsible for the daily placement process, i.e. liaison with host families, au pairs and agencies abroad to ensure we offer consistently high service levels to all stakeholders. In addition to this, we will work together on developing new ideas, different services and communication campaigns.
With Tuuli in place, we can focus on further strategic development for Smartaupairs. Our Tutor program and the introduction of Native Speakers have seen phenomenal demand from host families requiring with ‘just a little bit more’. My focus will be of bringing host families more options in the ‘gold quality’ bracket and above. I am already talking with agencies in Australia and New Zealand to bring us more native speaking au pairs.
We are also in the final stages of a new agreement with a European Agency network who has traditionally only sent au pairs to the USA and are used to screening for ‘the very best’. We are looking forward to placing their top calibre candidates, who will have significantly better than average language skills due to their national education system and their level of prior education. Many will be skilled drivers and have at least 100 hours of childcare experience and be committed to the au pair program for an academic year. Their au pairs will come predominantly from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands.
And finally, we are working closely with one of our partners in The Netherlands to attract Childcare trainees. These will be young people who will have completed the first part of learning to be a professional child carer with Dutch SPW qualifications similar to the UK NVQ2/BTEC2 level. We want to enable these applicants to continue their learning in the UK during their stay with a host family, allowing them to complete level 3 during their stay with the host family. Their formal training will be limited to one Saturday each month whilst their informal learning will be ongoing with your children!