Reflecting on an insightful and inspiring 10th anniversary WETM-IAC

Reflecting on an insightful and inspiring 10th anniversary WETM-IAC

13223016854_1aa00eac57_zSeminars, business appointments and a visit from ‘the Queen’ were all on the agenda at the 10th anniversary Work Experience Travel Market and IAPA Annual Conference (WETM-IAC 2014).

Over 260 delegates attended the event, which kicked-off at the Thistle Marble Arch in London on Sunday, 16 March with a welcome reception, where guests were welcomed by Baroness Diana Warwick of Undercliffe and ‘the Queen’!

During the reception, Baroness Warwick presented the Au Pair of the Year Award to Irene Buijing from the Netherlands.

Rise beyond the ordinary

After the official opening by David Chapman, Director General of WYSE Travel Confederation, on Monday, 17 March, the formal proceedings got underway with an energising session from award-winning motivational speaker Malcolm Smith, who encouraged attendees to rise beyond the ordinary.

DSC_1336Malcolm explained how the culture in Western Europe and North America has become increasingly ‘left brained’, at the expense of creativity, personality, energy and – as a result – effective selling. He encouraged the audience to embrace their company’s core ‘brilliance’ to ensure their business can shine above the competition. Click here to read more on this session.

UK gap year bill discussion with MP Kate Green

MP Kate Green joined an open discussion session which focused on the proposed new UK Bill on adventure and gap year activity.

The session brought together a number of key industry stakeholders, and was organised thanks to the support of WYSE Work and Volunteer Abroad member Smaller Earth.

WYSE Work and Volunteer Abroad looks forward to continuing the discussion on this important topic with Ms Green and its members. Click here to read more on this session.

Gala dinner with The Beatles

After a busy day of seminars and business appointments, a fleet of London buses arrived at the venue to take guests to Senate House in Bloomsbury for a gala dinner.

Following dinner, Patricia Brunner, Chair of IAPA, gave recognition to Matthias Ohm, the first IAPA Chair, for his ongoing commitment and 13222684455_9a5782162e_zcontribution to the association and the au pair industry.

Goran Rannefors, Treasurer of IAPA, then awarded honorary IAPA and WYSE Work and Volunteer Abroad memberships to Michael McCarry from the Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange and Paul Christianson from InterExchange for their invaluable contributions to the industry. Paul received his award posthumously and the ceremony provided a fitting opportunity to remember him and his vast achievements for the industry.

“I cannot think of anyone more worthy of receiving our first honorary memberships,” commented Patricia.

After marking IAPA’s 20th birthday with a large cake, David Chapman, Director General of WYSE Travel Confederation, announced Lisbon, Portugal, as the host city for WETM-IAC 2015.

The night continued with a live Beatles tribute band.

Flipping service learning to learning service

Tuesday, 18 March got underway with an interactive session led by Daniela Papi, co-founder of Learning Service and founder of Pepy Tours (Cambodia), who looked at flipping service learning to learning service.

During the session, Daniela used a combination of case studies, tips and workshop activities to encourage delegates to consider how we can improve the learning element and positive impact of international volunteer programmes.

J1 visa programme

Michael McCarry, Executive Director at the Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange, provided the latest updates on the J1 visa programme.

Michael’s overall message was ‘No action, lots of movement’ – there’s plenty going on behind the scenes, but no major changes to report at present.

13223487643_7125facb5e_zIAPA Panel Session

Michael McHugh from InterExchange led an interesting panel discussion which highlighted the lack of consistency in the regulation of au pair programmes in different countries across the world. For example, in the USA, the system is highly regulated with thorough, ongoing training for staff and au pairs with robust paperwork requirements, whereas in the United Kingdom, there are currently no standard regulations for au pair agencies.

IAPA is working with national au pair associations across the globe to lobby governments, where necessary, to implement robust regulation for au pair programmes. IAPA also founded the European Committee of Au Pair Standards (ECAPS) to lobby for au pair programme regulation across the EU.


A farewell reception brought the event to a close on Tuesday evening and provided an opportunity to reflect on the events of the past days.

“Thank you to our sponsorspartners, exhibitors and delegates for making our 10th anniversary event such a success,” comments David Chapman. “We look forward to welcoming you to Lisbon in 2015.”

Click here to view our photo gallery for WETM-IAC 2014