Part-Time Live In Childcare Positions (for Students) - Why Can't We Find Applicants?

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SmartaupairsUK
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Hi,

Calling all uni students (to be).

I am doing a bit of market research and hope that some of you can help!

I run an au pair agency, though many moons ago, I too was a uni student, struggling to find affordable accommodation + part-time work.

I would like to understand if/why live-in positions may/or may not be appealing to university students.

We have been promoting these positions for some time now, and there are many lovely families with fantastic references in London and commuter counties who are looking for live-in help for the next academic year, but for some reason the number of applications so far is very low. I hope to understand why. Please be honest 😄

The live in childcare program is mostly ideal for university students, who are looking for part rather than full time work commitment. Yes, it does mean a certain level of loss of freedom as you live within a family environment so you need to be respectful to the people you live with, but at the same time there is no rent, utility bills, general food bills to worry about.

All positions pay a minimum wage +
All positions include full board (basic daily meals) and own private bedroom
All hosts are reference checked
Typical roles require 15-30h/week (childcare and light household tasks). This means that the childcarer would need to be available for typically 4-6 hours per day of childcare support, and this can often work around their study commitments. Often the key hours of the day are very early mornings and late afternoon/evening.

The candidate needs to have informal childcare experience only (such as babysitting) as the program recognises the fact that we are not working with qualified childcarers. Though, naturally if someone was studying towards a childcare qualification, this route would be perfect to gain additional experience.

Most people who I work with so far have travelled to join families from Europe, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, but sadly, I am not seeing many applicants from the UK.

I'd love to hear your views/feedback so that I can design a better program for the future.

Many thanks!
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HousesInCork
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I'm from the UK (f) and studied my undergrad in London. I did some babysitting/homework help during my final year of uni and one of the best bits about it was that it wasn't a massive time commitment - only 3 hours a day, 3 days a week and working for a family within easy walking distance from my flat / short bus ride from uni. This meant I still had plenty of time to get all my uni work done, participate in societies, have a social life and down time, even in my final year. For me, two main things would have put me off the kind of position described here. First, the live in element, especially if it's not actually in the same city I was studying in. This would have meant missing out living with fellow students/friends (my favourite non-academic part of uni) as well as potentially long commutes into uni, to exams and society events. It would also likely not be appropriate to regularly return to a family home late at night, which would not only clash with wanting to enjoy student night life, but also with late night study sessions at the library. I could also see this being a big problem if you had a romantic partner. Secondly, working more than ca.15 hours a week would definitely have begun to eat into time needed for uni work - which is ultimately the priority - meaning that social life, societies and rest time would have suffered.
Also, not a problem for me specifically, but if there was an expectation to work Wednesday afternoons and/or Saturdays this could easily put off those wishing to participate in sports (and likely other clubs/societies) that often meet and play on those days.
Hope this helps
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SmartaupairsUK
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(Original post by HousesInCork)
I'm from the UK (f) and studied my undergrad in London. I did some babysitting/homework help during my final year of uni and one of the best bits about it was that it wasn't a massive time commitment - only 3 hours a day, 3 days a week and working for a family within easy walking distance from my flat / short bus ride from uni. This meant I still had plenty of time to get all my uni work done, participate in societies, have a social life and down time, even in my final year. For me, two main things would have put me off the kind of position described here. First, the live in element, especially if it's not actually in the same city I was studying in. This would have meant missing out living with fellow students/friends (my favourite non-academic part of uni) as well as potentially long commutes into uni, to exams and society events. It would also likely not be appropriate to regularly return to a family home late at night, which would not only clash with wanting to enjoy student night life, but also with late night study sessions at the library. I could also see this being a big problem if you had a romantic partner. Secondly, working more than ca.15 hours a week would definitely have begun to eat into time needed for uni work - which is ultimately the priority - meaning that social life, societies and rest time would have suffered.
Also, not a problem for me specifically, but if there was an expectation to work Wednesday afternoons and/or Saturdays this could easily put off those wishing to participate in sports (and likely other clubs/societies) that often meet and play on those days.
Hope this helps
Hi! Thank you so much for taking the time to respond and for your feedback!

Locality - What we have been doing so far is start with the student's university location and look for a host family who live within near/easy travel distance. It definitely makes sense to live near the university.

Party life - yes, I totally see this Knowing how our first year students were (first time away from home, freedom, more focus on parties etc), perhaps this would mean the living-in option might work better for 2nd and 3rd year students?! That is, once we actually get back into normal life and partying in it's true sense actually becomes possible again 🙈

I keep thinking how awful the past year would have been for students with all the restrictions..🥺

Oh, accommodation wise, some families actually have a separate annex which might give a bit more privacy.

Saying this, live out positions are of course still possible too though the loss of the financial benefit of no-rent/bills etc would then perhaps make the arrangement less attractive.

Weekly Hours - very useful to know! I suppose it is a case of flexibility both ways. Since COVID, many parents also have more flexible working arrangements/can choose some days to work from home, which could then be tied in with the students schedule?

Weekends are generally free time anyway.

Thanks again!
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