If you're thinking of hosting an au pair for the first time, you're about to make a good choice.
Hosting an au pair can be a rewarding, flexible solution for your childcare needs. Choose the right au pair and you'll be asking yourself what took so long to find out about this program.
But how can you make sure you get it right?
Answer - choose an au pair agency that offers a second to none service:
Because 1st Choice Au Pairs excels in these areas, it increases the probability that the placement will be as well matched as it can be. A professional agency should only deal with good quality partners in overseas countries, but in our case we don't need to rely on anyone else keeping high standards. We use psychometric and other suitability assessment tests with 100% of our candidates.
We deal directly with host families in the UK and au pairs in other countries, so we are always confident of upholding our own exactingly high standards. We deal with families across the UK though with offices in London, and on the border of Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, the majority of our placements are in the Midlands, central and east of England, the Home Counties and London.
We are full members of the association of British Au Pair Agencies. BAPAA strives to uphold quality standards in the au pair industry. 1st Choice Au Pairs' owner Jay was invited to join the executive committee and was actively working on a number of topical projects and issues during 2010 and 2011.
On line au pair web sites (not to be confused with agencies who have a web site) will not even talk to a candidate, let alone meet them or interview them.
Almost all other agencies deal with a foreign partner, so the person who interviews a candidate is usually not the person you will deal with.
In the case of 1st Choice Au Pairs, our au pair world is not just UK based. Staff from our UK office travel each month to other European countries to personally meet with prospective au pairs. We have visited au pairs in their family homes, in the work place, their school or university.
Meeting our candidates face to face gives opportunity to explain what an au pair does and how she may spend her time. We take time to get to know each au pair, find out about their experience and take them through our registration process.
Having three children ourselves, our acid test when we meet each au-pair candidate always is "would we be happy inviting this person to our home".
Offering video introductions of our candidates, 1st Choice Au Pairs continues to lead the way with a comprehensive and unrivalled full service. It's almost as good as attending the interview yourself – without the hassle.
We build a comprehensive profile of each au pair so when we return to the UK we can speak with a lot more authority about each person to our families.
Video allows your children to see who may be coming to stay with them. It enables them to play a bigger part in choosing someone and makes the process of mentally adjusting to a new au pair start a lot sooner.
We have exacting standards with only 1 in 3 au pairs coming through our demanding screening process. We have a diverse range of recruitment techniques including psychometric testing and competency based interviewing,
We personally corroborate references, obtain medical & police checks, verify educational attainment and conduct identity checks for every person.
Our comprehensive services have flexible fee options:- Pay up-front with 100% money back guarantee, registration deposit, no-deposit/no obligation, spread payment, pay as you go and bundled service packages.
With our gold plus and platinum service packages we offer a 60 day replacement guarantee in the event a family needs to replace their au pair.
We provide one-off services i.e. training, psychometric testing and translations. We offer exceptional value for money – the majority of new business coming through referrals from satisfied clients.
Being 'one agency' (not working with partners) we avoid typical communication problems of having too many links in the chain.
Since we are dealing directly with both families and au pairs, we can check each others requirements easily, and quickly provide information to follow up questions. This enables us to help you with more informed placement matches – using science as well as our own gut feeling.
What this means is that the information you provide to us will be passed on to the au pair prior to you making a phone call.
It is imperative that your au pair settles in quickly and has plenty of opportunity to meet new friends.
Home sickness can never be avoided completely, but our multilingual staff team in the UK provides long term support to your au pair, organizing trips and social events and keeping our au pair network in touch with each other.
We run au pair training weekends in London and Cambridge that provide your au pair with important skills that enables them to feel confident.
You can get hold of our FREE guide to hosting an au pair that covers many aspects of hosting an au pair.
Covering planning your home, selection, phone interviews, settling in, overcoming home-sickness, addressing problems and many more topics.
Wikipedia has a high level summary of au pair and au pair agency information although be careful as the main program guidelines listed are USA specific on the page.
Talk to us now on 01832 275100* for FREE no obligation advice on hosting an au pair and to discuss whether an au pair will be the right solution for your needs.
* Calls may be monitored for quality or training purposes
Our short guide to au pair pocket money should help you work out what to pay your au pair..