What led you to found Au Pair Link?
Founding Au Pair Link was definitely not a ‘spur of the moment’ decision. I’m originally from Sweden and prior to arriving in New Zealand, I had worked as an Au Pair in Connecticut (USA).
My time in the USA was incredible and made a huge impact on the way I thought about things, and evidently the path I wanted to take in life. Caring for two little girls, I decided that I wanted to enable other young people (and by extension, Host Families) to build the same connection with others around the world.
So in short, my own experience as an Au Pair really began to define my life for those twelve months, and it continues to define and reflect what I am truly passionate about – positive, life-changing experiences.
What have been the most exciting changes since founding the company?
We’ve been around for a while now, so I would say watching the company grow and develop has definitely been an exciting change. Au Pair Link started off as a really small team operating out of my apartment, we’ve now got over 40 staff based throughout New Zealand.
I’ve really enjoyed building the team of passionate and talented young people – we all work together to create something a little bit special, between the people who work at Au Pair Link, and of course between our Au Pairs and their Host Families. It’s been a really rewarding experience.
How has the Au Pair landscape changed over the last several years?
It has been a real challenge (and goal) for Au Pair Link to raise the bar in terms of the kind of support our Au Pairs receive. I’ve experienced first-hand how difficult it can be to arrive in a new country, and heard horror stories from friends about the kind of employment conditions Au Pairs can find themselves in when there is no agency support.
From there, we’ve made some real strides in terms of making sure Au Pairs are safe, are paid fairly, and are able to get the most out of their time in New Zealand. We’ve got a network of around five hundred Au Pairs in the country at any given time, so I think establishing awareness of the concept and making greater steps towards formalising the industry have been the main changes for us.
What do you think is the biggest benefit of an Au Pair program?
In our case, it is without a doubt the educational aspect of our programme. We were the first Au Pair agency in New Zealand to become licensed by the New Zealand Ministry of Education. It means that our Au Pairs come away with world-class childcare skills, and the children they care for receive a tailored educational experience.
We run a variety of local activities and events each week, meaning Au Pairs and children get to socialise together in an environment where they are both well-supported. Every week we receive “warm fuzzies” about what’s happening around the country, and the kind of difference that our Au Pairs make on a daily basis to the lives of families around NZ.
What do you foresee for the Au Pair space over the next decade?
We’ve got some pretty exciting things to look forward to over the next few months at Au Pair Link. Without giving too much away, I’m pretty confident that the trend towards families considering Au Pairs to care for and educate their children will only gain more momentum.
It was recently announced that Auckland has ascended to being one of the world’s top ten tourist destinations according to Lonely Planet, so I think that we’ll see greater interest from candidates around the world who are keen to explore what New Zealand has to offer.
What is your dream for Au Pair Link in ten years?
To be honest, ten years ago I wouldn’t have imagined that we would have come this far! Our commitment will always be to the concept of life-changing experiences – this has really been our guiding principle in terms of what we do.
As I hinted above, we’ve got a few things that we believe are going to radically change the industry even more, so I am looking forward to building on our growth, continuing to provide a personal service, and generally ensuring that we continue to evolve while providing an exciting and dynamic programme for our Au Pairs and families!