Guide for Au-Pairs

The Au-Pair program is for single man or woman aged 17-27 who wish to study a foreign language and culture while living as a part of a host family. They look after children and help around the house in exchange for board, lodging and pocket money.

Becoming an Au-Pair is only the beginning of an exciting journey with full of new experiences. This journey will not always be easy and happy, being an Au-Pair requires dedication, strength, independence and courage.

General Rules
*Au-Pair does not sign a contract with the host family.
*Au-Pair lives as a member of the family.
*Au-Pair has their own bedroom and is provided with full board.
*Au-Pair has no professional training.
*Au-Pair has less responsibility than a child-minder or a nanny and is not supposed to take sole charge of a very young child / baby unless experienced or qualified.

*Works 30 hours per week over 5 days, plus 2 evenings of Baby-Sitting
(more hours are required during school holidays).
*Receives pocket money of no less than £70 a week
(more money offered during school holidays).
*Usually has 2 free days per week (in most cases this is a weekend).

Au-Pair Plus
*Is usually required by families with small children who attend school/nursery either part-time or not at all.
*Will be working extended hours (30-35) for increased pocket money (min. £95).
(will have min. 1 whole day off per week).
*Will have to perform more tasks related to the household as well as children.
*Applicant for this position must be experienced, strong and capable.

Holiday Au-Pair
*Comes to the UK during summer (June, July and August).
*As the children are out of school, they works longer hours and have less free time.
*May not be able to attend classes, as most colleges/language schools are closed.
*Might be required to accompany the family on their holiday.

Language Fees are normally responsibility of the Au-Pair, however, some families offer to help out. In most places classes are free for EU members. Travel to college can be expensive if a family lives out of town. Help with transport to and from college is therefore often offered. Non EU students require VISA before entering the UK, the Agency will assist with this. After arrival the host family will assist with the registration at the Aliens Registration Office located at nearest Police Station. Travel to UK is responsibility of the Au-Pair, however, some families might offer to pay for the initial journey. Most families are able to meet their Au-Pair at the arrival point, however, some families will require their Au-Pair to travel to or near their home. In such case the Agency or the host family will supply information about means of travel in the UK.

Personality is very important. You must be patient, like children, be hardworking, responsible and have a sense of humour. All families want someone reliable and trustworthy but they also like someone cheerful and fun to be with.

Experience is most important when choosing a family. Think about what age-group of children you have the most experience with and how many children you are able to care for. Housework experience is not that important, you can learn as you go along.

Flexibility is important if you want to have more then 1 offer of a family. The less flexible you are prepared to be, the more you limit your choices. Hygiene and tidiness are extremely important. Family will resent it if you didn't clean up after yourself.

Duties don't always involve just caring for children. Most families will expect you to carry out light housework (dust, vacuum, wash dishes and keep the house tidy). You will be responsible for the children's clothes and might even be asked to iron for the other family members as well. You will be expected to prepare the children's meals but might be even asked to cook for the adults or just help with food preparation. Evening Baby-Sitting may be required twice per week for no extra money and you may be asked to baby-sit on one of your "days off".

Initiative will be very valued by the family. Sometimes asking if you can help with something when not busy or doing something little extra without being asked is most appreciated.

Driving in UK is a challenging task so be honest how good a driver you really are. Candidates with driving licences will have wider choice of families. Sometimes driving will be part of the job, in which case you will drive the children to school, sometimes a car will be there for the Au-Pair's benefit only. Not all families will be willing to leave their car for sole use of the Au-Pair, you might have to share. In either case, make clear arrangements about the petrol usage!

Homesickness is very common problem. You will miss your friends and family and it might take you two or more weeks before you settle, but even after you settle into the life of your host family, loneliness can be a problem if you do not make an effort to create a social life.

Communication is a key to successful relationship. If there is anything that worries you or anything you disagree with, do talk to your host family first and try to solve the problem between yourselves. The same applies if you don't understand. The family will be more then happy to explain in other way or maybe even write things down.

Au-Pair Companion can work 35 hours plus each week. Live in and receive £110 plus and will be registered as self-employed.