Au Pair

The Job and What's Involved

Becoming an Au Pair is a cheap way to spend some time abroad and to study a local language on a part-time basis.

Au Pair posts in families are usually intended for young girls aged between 18-27.

An au pair should expect to do light housework such as cleaning, dusting, shopping and taking care of the children in return for lodgings, board and pocket money. The status of the au pair is that of a family member and not a domestic.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

Jobs may be advertised in local and national newspapers, and through specialist au pair recruitment agencies.

Its important to find a reliable recruitment Agency. Both the International Au Pair Association and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation are useful sources of help and advice for au pairs.

Education and Training

Although no academic qualifications are needed to become an au pair, a good standard of literacy and numeracy is often required. So it can be useful to have at least three or four GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3), preferably including English and maths.

Further qualifications might include:

  • NVQ/SVQ Level 2 in Children's Care, Learning and Development
  • CACHE Level 2 Certificate in Child Care and Education
  • CACHE/City & Guilds/EDI Level 2 Certificate in Children's Care, Learning and Development.

There are numerous qualifications that au pairs can study for. Contact local colleges for details of courses and qualifications available locally.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

An au pair should:

  • Be patient, warm and caring, and have a sense of humour.
  • Understand the social and emotional needs of children.
  • Be able to motivate children to learn new skills.
  • Speak clearly and be a good listener.
  • Be firm and consistent in setting rules for good behaviour.
  • Be creative and imaginative.
  • Work well unsupervised.
  • Have excellent communication, planning and organisational skills.
  • Have energy and stamina.
  • Be aware of safety and hygiene.
  • Have self-confidence.

Your Long Term Prospects

With qualifications and sufficient childcare experience individuals can set up their own childcare nurseries.

It may be possible to train for related careers such as teaching, lecturing and social work for people with the right qualifications.

There may even be opportunities to work abroad, in large hotels and holiday centres and on cruise ships.

Get Further Information

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC)
15 Welbeck Street, London W1G 9XT
Tel: 020 7009 2100

International Au Pair Association, Store Kongensgade 40 H,
DK-1264 Copenhagen K, Denmark
Tel: +45 3317 0066

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