Au Pair in Britain Program Changes

***There are very important changes to the au pair in Britain program*** 

BAPAA, the British Au Pair Agencies Association, has confirmed new program guidelines in September 2017.

Smartaupairs is a BAPAA member agency and thereby, these changes are also applicable to our host families and au pairs who register with us for a new search. 

These changes are aimed to clarify & improve the au pair in Britain program to ensure we continue attracting the very best of the au pair applicants.

At smartaupairs, certain guidance points have been adapted to simplify the placement and weekly pocket money payment process for both families & au pairs.

A Summary of the Guidelines – Many of these points are long standing to Smartaupairs, however some guidelines have been further defined. 

– Minimum Pocket Money Guidelines: £85 for 25h, £100 for 30h (£115 for 35h). Higher pay applies for more experienced/native English speaking au pairs.
The above pocket money rates include a compulsory contribution towards local travel/language classes.
 
– Two Evenings of Babysitting (Monday-Friday) are included in this pocket money and in the au pair weekly hours.
Example: If you therefore require 30h/week – this will include the daytime on duty hours & babysitting hours. 

– Au pairs are entitled for 2 full free days a week – typically, Saturday & Sunday.  Any extra/weekend babysitting, is to be paid extra at £5/h for European au pairs and at £7/h for native English speaking au pairs. 
 
Light household duties continue to be limited to up to 1h/day.
 
– An End of Stay Bonus of one week’s pocket money is payable for au pairs who are staying for 6 months or longer – subject to completion of the full mutually agreed stay.
– The title au pair to be only recognised by BAPAA for roles which require up to 30h/help per week – higher hours roles are no longer being recognised as part of the traditional au pair programme. The term au pair plus is therefore no longer recognised by BAPAA.
If you have any queries regarding the above guidelines, just let us know and we are happy to help!
E-mail: info@smartaupairs.com
Call: 03301119266
Please visit the BAPAA website for further information – http://bapaa.org.uk/host-families/what-is-an-au-pair/
Advertisements

Sunday 14th May 2017 : The BAPAA Au Pair River Cruise Event

Last Sunday, the annual BAPAA River Cruise event was THE place to be (for an au pair at least)  😉

Starting at 11 am, approximately 300 au pairs were present ( Thank you so much for coming!). It was a great opportunity for au pairs to meet new friends who are going through the same experience as they are. So many different nationalities were present: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Australian …

Furthermore we had the chance to see historic landmarks throughout our journey : The House of Parliament, Big Ben, London Eye, the London Bridge, … As one of the crew member was giving us crucial details about popular places around the river.

Waving at by-passers on boats and on bridges, we finally arrived at Greenwich where a lot of au pairs visited the market, went to pubs, …

We sat on the grass, talking to each other, discovering each others culture and experience. It was really nice, some exchanged their best tips on how to be a good au pair (even if their is no guide for that).

After spending the afternoon in the park, we finally went back to the boat and returned to where our journey begun. 

It was such a special day for us, we are grateful that so many au pairs came and had a great experience.

If you couldn’t come it’s okay there will always be other events!!

I hope you had a great experience during the event and hope to see you at the next BAPAA event , or simply at the next Smartaupairs event!

Smartaupairs is always trying to get it right for families and au pairs! 🙂

Best Wishes

Isabelle (left) & Aurelie (right)

Smartaupairs

Smartaupair of the Year 2016-7- Kirby from AUSTRALIA!!

Each year, we select one of our au pairs (based on host family nominations) to win the lovely Smartaupairs of the Year title. With a little bit of a drum roll, we would like to announce that…

Smartaupair of the Year 2016-7 winner is KIRBY FROM AUSTRALIA 🙂 

A MASSIVE WELL DONE TO KIRBY!!

Kirby has been living with her host family in Kent for over a year now (and will continue for another). She will receive a £200 gift card to Boots (her chosen retailer) 🙂

Of course, in our eyes, there are SO so many equally amazing au pairs out there, doing a fantastic job – and being a great “big sister/brother” to their host children so we also wanted to take this chance to also say a big thank you to ALL au pairs (whether nominated or not) for their effort and motivation, you are all great!!!

Below you may find both the host family nomination & Kirby’s own response along with some lovely photographs of Kirby & the host family. 

AuPair of the year award nomination: Kirby 

I first met our AuPair Kirby over Skype in February.  Being a single mum with twin 4 year old boys – we have a very busy household with a lot of energy and sometimes noise! I work full time – mainly from home, but need space and quiet.  I had a clear view on the things we needed as a family – along with being one of our family, loving, caring, organised, full of energy, the ability to be a great cook and have a touch of craziness (in a good way) was a must.  Kirby’s second interview with the boys on skype wow-ed us all – she was dressed as a pirate and kept the twins captivated for over 45 minutes – which is a miracle!

We immediately felt determined that she was “the one!” and flights were booked and she arrived from Sydney in March. For someone who has had to apply for a passport for the first time, she settled with ease and started her morning “walkabout” to gain her bearings, walking more than 5 miles each morning before breakfast. The boys fell in love with her, fighting to be her best friend.  The fact that she is so much fun, full of enthusiasm for everything – even the mundane – has led them to adore her and being an expert on Super Heros has added to their delight in our new AuPair.

Life with twin boys is very difficult to imagine, but Kirby has risen to the challenge with ease.  She copes easily with any conflict: able to distract them with other things. We both work on manners and school work together and Kirby brings exciting and interesting ways of looking at things.

Kirby is full of boundless energy – which is perfect for two very spirited twin boys, she designs boot camp exercises and sports in the park, has taught them how to bake the most scrumptious cakes and biscuits, built wands to make giant bubbles in the garden and helped teach them how to swim:  no day is ever the same.  There are treasure hunts, train track building, domino trails and interesting games to play to improve the boys’ reading, writing and numeracy.  In the background, she ensures the house is running smoothly, the laundry is done and the children’s meals are delicious and highly nutritious.  She has never been anything other than happy and full of joy, a pleasure for all the family. She is caring, loving and kind: often I overhear her reading to the boys and the little discussions they have – precious memories.

The children started school in September and Kirby has seen them easily through this transition and walks to school with them daily.  They always burst through the door after home time, often delighting in telling me what they found in the hedgerows from their walk home, as much as what they did at school! Kirby has developed a great rapport with the teachers and handles dropping each twin into their own class with the right books, gloves, hats, and so on – with ease. She never needs asking, floors get mopped, laundry gets done and the salads are chopped and in the fridge – it is as though she reads my mind.

Meanwhile, I have made a dear friend; she is like an older daughter to me.  Kirby and I will cook together – both with a love of cooking and healthy food, we have the same tastes in movies too and when the children are sleeping, we have made our way through quite a few films.  Kirby has joined us on our summer holiday and spent time in the French countryside with my parents and the boys.

Christmas this year saw a bout of tummy bug for the family including grandparents, and Kirby maintained her happy and energetic self, amongst the washing and Dettol, she ensured the boys had a fabulous Christmas despite it all and helped us all enjoy the break between Christmas and New Year. Santa even delivered her a special sack of presents – as she was on the good list too!

This year – both Kirby and I have signed up for the London Marathon to run for a charity; the long run training will doubtless require friends to step in and help with childcare, but we are working around each other to fit in our training plans.  It will be an amazing experience and one we both will never forget.  Her mother and Aunt have already visited this year – so this time – her brother and father shall be visiting, which will make our day all the more wonderful.

Kirby is truly one of the family here, the boys adore her and I don’t know what we will do when it is her time to return to Australia.  She has been such a positive influence on all of us, including me – we really hit the jackpot when we interviewed that pirate on Skype all those months ago.

Kind Regards

Claire

Kirby’s response – bound to make you smile!!  

We love her down to earth honest approach – let’s face it, there are days which are harder than others, all part of life!

Honestly, where do I even BEGIN..

I guess from the first night I talked to Claire and the boys over Skype – my initial thought being ‘Man, what have I gotten myself into! I hope I can match their awesome level of crazy…’

Ha! That thought was immediately wiped away when I met them in person…these were definitely my people.

I touched down in Jolly old England. Ahhh, I remember it well – my main thought being ‘Damn! 9 degrees! That’s nearly snow temperature! HA! Wasn’t I an idiot. Skip past a short car trip back to my new home of two years…and as soon as I stepped through the door and laid spread eagled on the sofa, I knew this wouldn’t be JUST a house to live in, but a mighty fine home.

As the weeks passed, what I first thought were going to be two, little, golden-haired gremlins, turned out to be two of the coolest little guys I’ve ever looked after, and it has been my pleasure to look after them. Of course we have the odd ‘GAH, YOU’RE DRIVING ME ABSOLUTELY NUTS!’ moments, but come on, what family doesn’t. And that’s what they have become to me. I’ve seen William and Alex go through the transition from ‘little school’ to primary school and it has been AMAZING seeing how much they’ve matured into top little gentlemen. I’ll ask them about their day, what they had for lunch, that seems to be their favourite part, and mostly the big question of ‘Ooooo, who’s your girlfriiiiend?’. I feel that not only will any future girlfriends have to go through Claire, but they will definitely have to pass the ‘Kirby test of awesomeness’, because there is no doubt, that in 20 years time, i’ll STILL be in constant contact with my England family.

Ahhhh, and Claire, what can I say about Claire, she is an absolute stunning human being, with a deadset pistol of a personality. She can make me laugh, fire me up when I’m feeling sluggish and always has a good story for me. The amount of times it’s felt like we have been on the same brainwave is insane, it’s as if she can tell what I’m thinking and I can tell what she’s thinking, whether it’s about what to have for dinner, what TV show to watch, what activity to do with the boys and even the occasional ‘ahhh, does your butt hurt from running today, as well?’

This year was my first year away during the Christmas period, and yes, my mother in Australia made very sure that I was at least a little bit homesick…BUT, that was short lived after waking up to my own personalised Santa sack filled with everything screaming Tangerine (inside joke) and watching the boys excitement as they opened their own presents…of course the real kicker was drinking Buck’s Fizz in the kitchen with Claire and laughing about anything and everything, while preparing my first ever British Christmas lunch. It was an amazing memory I’ll never forget, with a family I’ll never forget, Claire really is MUCH more than just a host, she has been my family while I’ve been here, and I’m sure I’ve been like family to her.

Now up to date in the household, we’ve just welcomed a puppy called Narla, she is REALLY testing all of us at the moment, but I have no doubts that we can handle anything now. I am very keen to see what this last year brings, but I’m also very sad that I only have one year left with this absolute goldmine of a family, I’m so glad I picked this family and would do it again a million times over 🙂

 

IAPA Conference in Munich

The weekend gone, Tuuli, Chloe & Robyn from Smartaupairs attended the IAPA Conference in Munich.

IAPA stands for the international au pair agencies association – and it brings together au pair (and youth travel) organisations from all over the world.

It gave us the chance to meet many of our current and also prospective new partners.

Around our meetings, we also loved getting to know the city (which we thought was beautiful!!), the lovely Bavarian/German food (OK, here we might divide opinions), and the great German beer.

Here are some photos from the 4 day journey!

Hover over the photos for captions.

 

BAPAA Au Pair Event

Yesterday saw another great au pair event take place in London, organized by BAPAA, the British au pair agencies association. Nearly 200 au pairs attended for a couple of hours of socializing and icebreaker games. We also had a photo booth which proved particularly popular (judging by the queue)!

We really hope au pairs enjoyed the day and made lots of new friends.

Here are also a couple of pictures from the day…

Venue
Our Lovely Venue – the location marker balloons were there to make it easier for au pairs to find others in their area..
Photo Booth
Photo Booth
Some of our Smartaupairs!
Some of our lovely Smartaupairs!
Tuuli & au pairs
Tuuli & au pairs
Tuuli being Interviewed
Interview with Tuuli 🙂
Getting stuck in with the icebreaker activities
Getting stuck in with the icebreaker activities
Photo Booth
Smile!
Activities!
Activities!
P1000880
Making friends!

P1000876 P1000884

Getting to know our partner agencies

We are often asked how we find, screen and prepare our candidates for the Au Pair in Australia program.

Smart-Au-Pairs-Conference-34

We do this with help from our trusted partner agencies in the country where the au pair comes from.

Smart-Au-Pairs-Conference-17

This means that the au pair gets guidance and preparation for the au pair experience in her own language and with a thorough understanding of her culture and of the destination she is travelling to. It is thanks to their dedication to the Au Pair in Australia program that we have such great au pairs and that we can continue to grow the program whilst maintaining our high quality.

Smart-Au-Pairs-Conference-30

Last week, the World Youth & Student Travel Conference took place in Sydney and many of our partner agencies visited Sydney for this conference. The team at Smartaupairs wanted to make them feel very welcome as these agencies had travelled such a long way to get here.  We invited our agencies to visit our office, mingle with our team and see a bit of Sydney on the way.

Thank you to Anna, Patricia, Stephanie and Matthias from Germany, Joan from Denmark, James from the USA and Simona from the Netherlands for taking time out, hope you enjoyed your visit!

Pleasure to meet James from New York

This week is the WYTEC conference in Sydney and I am looking forward to meet some of our key partner agencies from Europe and the US face to face. It’s always great to have a chance to discuss our plans for the Au Pair programs in more detail.

SmartAuPairs_interexchange11

James from InterExchange Working Abroad travelled in a few days earlier and made time to visit our Sydney Office. InterExchange is a nonprofit organisation with more than 40 years experience connecting young people from all over the world with life-changing cultural exchange opportunities. We also work with InterExchange for our Au Pair in the USA Gapyear program.

He told me that Australia and New Zealand are increasingly popular destinations for Americans who want to work and gain experience overseas. We talked about au pair screening and preparation, our Australian host families and what more we can do to attract young people from the US to the Au Pair in Australia program.

Thanks for your time James, great to have such a professional partner recruiting on our behalf!

SmartAupairs-InterExchange_3 SmartAupairs-InterExchange_5

 

If you are an Australian family thinking about hosting an au pair, go to www.smartaupairs.com.au

If you are a family in Britain, find out more here www.smartaupairs.com