Thank you for joining us at WETM-IAC 2015

Thank you for joining us at WETM-IAC 2015

David Chapman at the WETM-IAC 2015 Welcome Reception

Thank you to everyone who attended the Work Experience Travel Market and IAPA Annual Conference (WETM-IAC) 2015 in Lisbon, Portugal last week and helped to make the event a great success.

This year we welcomed 200 delegates from across the globe who took part in business appointments, seminars, workshops and networking events over the course of two and a half days – and saw the IAPA Au Pair of the Year 2015 crowned.

Welcome to Lisbon

Francisco Moser from the Lisbon Convention Bureau – sponsor of our welcome reception – gave guests a warm welcome to the city at an evening reception, which took place in the Panorama Bar at the Sheraton Lisboa Hotel and Spa, the base for the 11th WETM-IAC event.

Guests enjoyed their first valuable opportunity to connect with their colleagues during the evening while enjoying breathtaking views of Lisbon from the city’s highest point.

Later on in the evening, the WETM-IAC conference bar opened for the first time and delegates were able to enjoy a relaxing drink at the end of both Sunday and Monday evening courtesy of WISE Foundation.

Rise of the sharing economy

The formal proceedings kicked off with the welcome, opening and keynote session at 09:00 on Monday, 16 March.

After David Chapman, Director General of WYSE Travel Confederation, officially opened this year’s event, Rui Ventura from Fuel TV took to the stage for his keynote session: Brand building in the sharing economy.

“Focus on the solution and not the problem,” said Rui as he opened his session. Painting a picture of how the sharing economy has risen, with over 80% of people willing to share more if they could more easily, he indicated the change in perception from ‘more is more’ to ‘less is more’. This change in perception has resulted in a sharing economy now worth USD 10 billion.

Insightful sessions and workshops

AuPairMom, Celia Harquail, presents at WETM-IAC 2015

The educational programme continued with insightful sessions from Celia Harquail, also known as AuPairMom, who gave delegates a behind-the-scenes look at her successful online community for au pairs and host families.

Meanwhile, Bettina Wiedmann from Experiment e.V. and Bastian Weinberger from Smaller Earth presented some of the key findings of WYSE Work and Volunteer Abroad’s Volunteer Working Group survey in to the impact of volunteer experiences on volunteers after they return home.

Overall, the results show that volunteering has a positive impact on both the projects and the communities involved.

Additionally, participants also recognise the positive effects for themselves, reporting that generally they return feeling better informed and more culturally aware, as well as more employable/ready for further study likely to help causes closer to home.

Further educational sessions followed after lunch and business appointments, with Jennifer Woodbridge from WYSE Travel Confederation and James Bell from Alliance Abroad Group discussing the topic of Work abroad: Collaborating for change to improve youth mobility – click here for a full overview of the session. Celia Harquail also took to the stage for her second session, where she gave tips on how to build an online presence, drawing on her experience as blogger and community manager AuPairMom.

In the final session of the day – The rise of the internet platforms – a number of au pair agencies  came together to discuss how online platforms like and are impacting on their businesses. It’s clear that many businesses are feeling the impact of these platforms and the group brainstormed ideas for distinguishing themselves from the large internet platforms, for example by highlighting their experience and specialised, personal approach.

WETM-IAC 2015 celebration dinner sponsored by Else Globe

Left to right: Sarah McNamara, Vice President, AuPairCare; Lena Halberstadt, Au Pair of the Year 2015; Rachel Adamson, Director of Partner Services, AuPairCare.

Celebration dinner

For the evening’s entertainment, coaches took guests to the celebration dinner at Estufa Fria –  Lisbon’s Greenhouse – a beautiful green haven in the centre of Lisbon where guests enjoyed dinner and dancing. In addition, Patricia Brunner, the IAPA Chairperson, crowned Lena Halberstadt as the Au Pair of the Year 2015 and announced that WETM-IAC 2016 will be held in Atlanta, USA.

IAPA Annual General Meeting

The final day got underway with more business appointments before the IAPA Annual General Meeting (AGM) 2015, where new board member Linda James of Au Pair America was elected and Treasurer Goran Rannefors was re-elected for his fifth and final term. The meeting also offered an opportunity to reflect on the last 12 months, outline IAPA’s plans for 2015, and saw the acceptance of 18 new members.

Following the AGM, Michael McCarry from the Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange gave his annual update on new developments affecting the J-1 Visa Exchange Programme.

The farewell reception provided delegates with a final opportunity to come together and reflect on their experience over the past days before going their separate ways.

If you have any questions or feedback about this year’s event, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We look forward to welcoming you to Atlanta from 19 – 21 March 2015! Please put the date in your diary…