What does an au pair do?
Au pairs can expect to do a mixture of childcare and light housework, to assist with the children, perhaps helping them to dress, getting them breakfast, taking and collecting them from school, preparing meals and keeping their rooms tidy. There may also be some dusting, vacuuming, ironing, washing and bed making etc. An Au-Pair works 25 - 30 hours per week (generally five hours a day) and possibly two evenings a week babysitting. The hours may be spilt differently however, depending on the requirements of your family. The au pair has his/her own room and meals are generally taken with the family. Pocket-money is paid and is negotiated with the family (for Au Pair Ecosse the recommended minimum amount for the weekly allowance for 25 hours work is £80).
Many young people choose to become au pairs in order to acquire fluency in a foreign language and living as part of a family is an ideal way to achieve this. The au pair may also want to go to a language school and the family should facilitate this. This is an excellent way of meeting other young people. While the au pair is responsible for the cost of the school, some families will make a contribution. Many language schools in Scotland now provide English classes for au pairs free of charge
Au pairs are entitled to 14 days paid holiday for every six months. Most au pairs have two full days off per week and are not expected to baby-sit on these evenings unless there is some arrangement between the au pair and family. The family may ask the au pair to do additional duties for which they should give extra pocket money in return. This should be agreed between family and au pair.
EU nationals are entitled to free medical treatment in the UK under the National Health Service and should register with a GP on arrival. Au Pairs from other countries should check that there is a reciprocal agreement between their own country and the UK and ensure that they have adequate medical and accident insurance cover. If there are any doubts this should be checked with the relevant embassy which will certainly know of the rights of its citizens in the UK. Dental treatment is usually not part of the NHS.
Au pairs are expected to cover the cost of travel to the country in which they are to be employed. Arrangements will be made for them to be collected from the airport/station by the host family or by agency staff.
You should only say that you are a car driver if you are confident about driving in the UK. An international driving permit is not required for driving in the UK if you are an EU citizen. It may be helpful if you have one or two driving lessons in the UK before driving the family’s car. Remember to bring your licence!
What happens next?
For outbound au pairs the complete application package will be forwarded to partner agents in Europe who will propose suitable families and forward files for you to view. An interview will be arranged and if they decide to offer you a place as their au pair an invitation letter will be sent to formalise the placement. For au pairs coming to Scotland the matching process is carried out by Au Pair Ecosse.
The ‘Dear Family ‘ letter should be in the language of your target country, describing yourself, why you want to work in the host country, your hobbies, experience with children, ambitions etc. The more information you provide, the quicker we can place you with a family. Please send us your application form, the other documents and photographs by post or by email.
The agency will maintain contact with the family and au pair and will be happy to discuss any problems. Dates of social events will be emailed to the au pairs in the course of their stay along with details of new arrivals. Information about language schools will also be made available.
On successful completion of your stay in Scotland you can request a certificate of achievement.
Au Pairing in Scotland
Scotland is a small country with the majority of the population living in the central belt - Glasgow, Stirling, Edinburgh - but with lively cities elsewhere, such as Aberdeen in the north east and Inverness in the north. We have our own parliament and our government has made money available for provision of free English classes in some, but not all, areas of the country. Advanced English classes in Glasgow have become very busy recently so we have organised our own private class for the past two years.
Our Au Pairs consistently say that they find us friendly and easy going as a nation and they love our varied landscapes, which more than make up for the unpredictable weather. As the saying goes - 'if you don't like the weather, just wait ten minutes'. Public transport here can be expensive, but the distances aren't huge. We provide Au Pairs with a list of email contacts and we have local Facebook pages to facilitate contact between Au Pairs. We currently have 'au pair ambassadors' in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen - au pairs who have offered to help new au pairs find their way around and who organise social events regularly.
Au Pairing Abroad
Au Pairing is a cost effective way of spending a Gap Year and will guarantee that you start your university studies with fluency in a language and lots of useful life experience. We can process applications for Europe and the USA through partnerships with agents in these countries . It may be possible to arrange placements in other parts of the world such as China, Australia and New Zealand. There is always a demand for English speaking applicants and it may be possible to specify the city or area where you would like to be placed. Our agents in France can place in Lyon, Paris, Bordeaux, Biarritz, Geneva, Lille etc. and in Germany, we have agents based in Berlin, Munich and other cities. We also have links with agencies in Spain in Barcelona, Murcia, Madrid, Santander.... We use agents who look after their Au Pairs well and ensure that the families pay a good rate of pocket money and some will also cover the costs of language school and public transport in the local area. Most of our partner agents will organise social events and gatherings for the Au Pairs or at least provide them with contact details of local Au Pairs.
Familes are not looking for childcare qualifications but do expect some experience of working with children as babysitter, guide leader, youth group leader or whatever, so if you are thinking about applying to be an Au Pair it's a good idea to start getting as much experience as possible. To read about the experience of some Scottish Au Pairs see our Au Pair Experience page.
Au Pairing in the USA with our American partner GoAuPair
We have been working with GoAuPair for the past twelve years and have found them to be an excellent partner agency. Go Au PAIR uses a Mutual Match system to help Au Pairs and Host Families find the perfect fit. They promise to:
Provide Year Long Support,
Screen potential Host Families by conducting the Host Family Interview Conduct the Au Pair/Host Family Orientation shortly after the Au Pair’s arrival Monitor the Host Family and Au Pair’s relationship through monthly contacts cultural activities and family day events
Ensure all participants adhere to the program rules and regulations
Mediate any problems or issues that may arise between the Au Pair and Host Family
Answer questions, address concerns and aid in matters specific to the local area, such as educational opportunities
For more information see the GoAuPair website www.goaupair.com
If you would like to make an application please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request an application package