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THIS INFORMATION MAY HELP YOUR PREPARATION. WE'LL ALSO SEND YOU INFORMATION BY E-mail, EXACTLY WHEN YOU NEED IT!

FAQs & INFORMATION

Please find here the information you should read in preparation of your application. There is also an answer to the frequently asked questions. If you cannot find the answer to your question, you can e-mail us on

info@smartaupairs.com

HOW CAN I MEET OTHER AU PAIRS?


1) The best place to meet other au pairs is language classes. If you are not going to language classes because you are a native speaker, why not go along to the first lesson or registration at your local language school and offer to help other au pairs improve their language skills! This is a great way to make friends and do something really constructive.


2) Join a local Club – anything from (team) sports, gym, fitness, running, music, reading, chess, film-club. Ask the host family to find out about clubs nearby. Often Clubs run by the local council (government) are cheaper than private clubs.


3) If there is a University in the City, there are usually student get-togethers and leisure activities.


4) Ask the agency to give you e-mail addresses of au pairs nearby and see if any meetings are being organised


5) Register with facebook groups for au pairs (facebook groups are also open to others so take care before arranging any meeting and/or giving personal information


5) Register with ‘ex-pat’ groups in your area, other people who are new to the area are very likely to also be looking to meet other people nearby to explore together


6) Sign up for a local excursion, especially backpackers daytrips will be certain to be booked by other young people AND it is a great way to see more of the country.


7) Volunteer – during your time off, you can get involved in volunteering, Google ‘volunteering + your location’ to find out how you can get involved, you may be able to help with local events, conservation & wildlife projects, at the local church or community centre.


8) Ask your host family to introduce you to au pairs and/or other people of your age in the area


9) In the UK we have a dedicated website to introduce you to other au pairs


WHAT WILL MY HOURS BE, AND HOW MUCH CAN I EXPECT TO EARN?

As au pair you take part in a cultural childcare program. You get the opportunity to earn and learn.

Please find below the guidelines for the main categories of au pairs. It is very important to agree in advance what you expect from each other.

Au Pair (25-30 hours per week)

  • Works 5 hours per day, 5 days per week
  • Baby sits 2 evenings per week
  • Receives 2 free days and 3 evenings off
  • Recommended pay from £75 per week in the UK, from €260 per month in Europe, from $150 per week in Australia 
  • No sole care for children under 2

Au Pair Plus and Summer Au Pair (30-35 hours per week - UK)

  • Works 6 hours per day, 5 days per week
  • Baby sits 2 evenings per week
  • Receives 2 free days and 3 evenings off
  • Recommended pay from £ 90  - 30 hrs
  • No sole care for children under 2

Mother's Help* (35+ hours per week - UK)

  • Works up to 10 hours, 5 days per week
  • Baby sits 2 evenings per week
  • Receives at least 1 free day and 3 evenings off
  • Weekly pay from £100 - 25 hours, from £120 - 35 hours, from £150 - 40 hours
  • More responsibility, younger children and/or longer hours

*mother's helpers or tutors are not officially part of the au pair cultural exchange scheme. They are candidates who are willing and able to take on higher levels of responsibility, but not fully qualified like a nanny or teacher. Please read more information about mother's help or more information about tutor program.

Click for more information on what is an au pair 

We can help find candidates from the EU who are willing to work over 35 hours and/or offer more experience. Pay varies depending on age, experience and hours. Tax and NI contributions are payable as soon as pay is more than £115 per week. (£ 6,035 tax year 2008/09) 

Extra hours for au pairs are usually paid at minimum £4 per hour/£7 for specialist positions in UK, $7 in Australia.

This salary guide is exactly that, a guide to indicate what the allowance/pocket money/salary may be. It is part of a package. The family also look after you by giving you the following

  • A bedroom. Mostly within the family home and varying in level of comfort. In some families you may have your own bathroom, TV, DVD player etc.
  • Full board (all meals included)

And in some cases there are other elements to consider

  • Use of car in your spare time,
  • Chance to travel abroad with the family
  • Membership to (sports) clubs
  • Payment of/towards English classes
  • Payment of/towards First Aid qualification
  • Payment towards travel expenses on public transport
  • Payment of a flight home after agreed period of successful performance

These are all factors that play a part in the level of pocket money. A family may have an amount in mind, based on what they are looking for in terms of

  • The level of previous childcare experience, this should be measured in the number of hours, weeks, years of experience in child care for the relevant age group. Occasional babysitting gives less previous experience than teaching a group of young children on a daily basis so please ensure your profile reflects this.
  • The number of hours you will be required to work, the total number of hours plays a role but also ‘split shifts’ or the need to help in the evenings and weekend
  • The level of responsibility you will be required to take, how many children you will need to look after, if driving is required etc
  • The level of your education and spoken English, your influence on a child’s development is important, as you will spend many hours in their company. If you are educated and speak good English, you are in a better position to stimulate the children and contribute towards their development.


WILL I HAVE TO PAY FOR MY FLIGHT?

Au pairs are expected to pay for their own flight to the host family unless specifically agreed otherwise. The host family will collect you from the airport or arrange for collection.

Please ask the family about their local airport and a suitable date/time for collection. Flight are usually more expensive around weekends and school holidays.

You should also double check your luggage allowance. Excess luggage may cost as much as your ticket. In some cases, you may want to consider a coach journey, as this will allow you to bring more. Alternatively, you may travel by car.

WILL I BE ABLE TO DRIVE ABROAD?

If you have a full, clean driving license, you should be permitted to drive abroad for the first year of your stay. An International Driving license is ALWAYS BETTER, you can simply exchange your license. 

Check the DVLA information if you want to know more about driving in the UK.

If the family needs you to drive their vehicle, they will arrange appropriate insurance for the car you will be driving. We also ask them to provide you with a couple of lessons and time to practise before you drive on your own or with the children.

Please provide a copy of your license in advance, with your references.

WHAT SHOULD I DO ABOUT HEALTH INSURANCE?

Before you leave, you should consider an annual insurance policy. This is often cheaper in your own country and the policy will be in your own language. 
Your insurance policy should protect you from costly emergencies, repatriation and legal assistance.

Medicare Australia has arrangements in place for reciprocal agreements with some countries, however, this is NOT a substitute for gap year insurance.

A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles you to reduced-cost, sometimes free, medical treatment if within the EEA countries. The card is free but must be obtained before travel. Again, it is NOT a substitute for insurance!
More about EHIC. 

Before you travel, you must have travel insurance.
Your au pair insurance policy should protect you from costly emergencies, repatriation and legal assistance.

Travel insurance: simple & flexible

You can buy, extend and claim online even after you've left home. Recommended by Lonely Planet, World Nomads travel insurance is available to people from over 150 countries and is designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and activities such as skiing and snowboarding.

HOW DO I IMPROVE MY CV?

There are several ways of improving your CV. Putting the Au Pair experience on your CV shows that you are independent, mature and capable. It also indicates that you are able to be flexible and work as part of a team. Living abroad makes you more culturally aware and if, at the same time you have improved your language skills, this is another valuable benefit of aupairing!

Other extras that are great on your CV and are easy to achieve as part of your time as an au pair are:

FIRST AID
APPROVED LANGUAGE CLASSES - language skills

ARE THERE ANY WAYS OF EARNING MORE MONEY AS AN AU PAIR?

Please speak to your host family if you would like to earn more. They may be able to help you. You must also check your visa conditions. In Europe you are generally free to take on extra duties as you do not need a visa. In Australia, the Working Holiday Visa allows you to take on extra work also. 

BABYSITTING


Your host family may be able to recommend you to their friends for babysitting. That way you will come recommended and you know you will be safe.

DOG WALKING

If you like fresh air and keeping fit, why not help a busy dog owner by walking their dog(s). It saves you money on gym membership and you meet new people in the park too!
ANY TIPS ON HOW TO SAVE MONEY?

If you have any tips you want to share with us, please get in touch. 
 
TELEPHONE

Download Skype for free now, allowing you to make FREE calls to other Skype users and CHEAP calls to landlines and mobiles all over the world. Easy to sign up now!

STUDENT & BACKPACKER NEWS
Look out for magazines, notice boards and websites for students and backpackers, they cater well for travellers on a budget and offer discounts on things like cinema tickets, books, internet vouchers, free samples etc. 

TRANSFER MONEY
Some au pairs open a bank account overseas and transfer a sum of money in advance, others simply use their pin to get cash overseas. It pays to do your research and plan ahead.

ANY IDEAS ON ENTERTAINING THE CHILDREN?

Even if you have a lot of experience with children, you sometimes need new ideas. This information will not only inspire you, it is also a good way to practise your English skills.

Check BBC for some great suggestions.

Feel free to let us have your favorite source of new ideas to entertain the children.

I'M UNHAPPY. WHAT CAN I DO?

Even with the best planning and support, occasionally things do not work out and someone is unhappy.

We always first try to assist to find a solution between the two parties. We can mediate and often an open and frank discussion results in a positive outcome.

However, there are situations where this is not the case. Each situation is different and we will do what we can to support both parties. If appropriate, we find a replacement.

At all times we ask both parties to remain courteous.

The hosting contract states 14 days notice, giving au pair and host family a chance to make alternative arrangements.

DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER USEFUL LINKS?

Netmums
Parenting advice and information

Parenting tips and advice

UK's number one baby magazine

Parenting information Essex.

Pregnancy, Baby and Toddler information









HOW WILL I KEEP IN TOUCH WITH MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS?

Although you will be making lots of new friends, it is important to keep in touch with your family and friends back home. Traditionally this has been costly but with technology evolving all the time, you may find that it is much easier now to keep in touch.

If you have broadband at home and at your host family, you can chat online in writing and also speak to them. If you have a webcam, you can even see each other. Before you leave home, talk to your parents and advise them of the options, this way you can share your experience!

WHAT IS THE SMART AU PAIRS CERTIFICATE?

At the end of the au pair stay, our au pairs find that they have gained valuable skills for life.

Employers and Universities really appreciate applicants who have been abroad and our certificate is an ideal way to show them about your achievement. 

LINKS WE LIKE

Pure Nannies- Pure Nannies are a professional and friendly nanny agency serving the counties of Surrey and Sussex for both parents and childcarers. Offering support, help and guidance in finding your perfect Nanny, Mother's Help or Maternity Nurse.