Au Pair of the Year 2014 named as WETM-IAC 2014 gets underway in London
A Dutch au pair taking part in a cultural exchange in the United Kingdom was crowned Au Pair of the Year at the opening reception for WETM-IAC 2014, held in London this week.
Irene Buijing, 19, was presented with her award by Baroness Diana Warwick of Undercliff during the opening address at the Work Experience Travel Market and IAPA Annual Conference – the annual event of the International Au Pair Association (IAPA) and WYSE Work and Volunteer Abroad.
Irene’s host mum, Maisie Rudkin, nominated her for the award and was also in the crowd to see her receive it. Mrs Rudkin explained: “Irene has been a fantastic support to our family since she joined us last autumn and has shown maturity beyond her years.
“I wanted to do something in return that would help her in the years to come, so didn’t hesitate to put her forward for this award. I am absolutely delighted she has won.”
Irene, who is seven months into her year-long placement in West Sussex added: “I never expected to win this award but am really glad that I have.
“I work with a great family with whom I have a fantastic relationship which has developed into a friendship. The children are lovely and I wouldn’t change my placement for the world.”
Irene, who was one of three finalists shortlisted for the award, initially approached agency Au Pair Interactive in the Netherlands to find her an au pair placement. They then worked with Smartaupairs in the United Kingdom, who placed her with the Rudkin family.
The Au Pair of the Year Award selection process
“We ask our member au pair agencies to invite their host families to nominate their au pairs for the award,” says Patricia Brunner, Chair of the IAPA Board. “We then collect the nominations and create a shortlist of three finalists, who we ask to write a letter about their au pairing experience. The IAPA Board members then review the letters and make the final selection.”
“Irene is a shining example of the qualities we are looking for in individuals embarking on au pairing experience.”
“I would like to congratulate Irene on her win on behalf of IAPA and my fellow board members.”