There are two main ways to get a job before you go caring for children in a ski resort. Find work through an au pair or nanny agency or get yourself hired by a tour operator or chalet company.
There is no shortage in this world of children or jobs looking after them. If you are the right age and gender (girls always find childcare work far easier than boys) and desire an au pair position in, for example, Italy but do not mind where, an agency will be only too happy to round you up, hand you your ticket and send you on your way.
Somewhere more specific, say Rome or Florence, might require a little more waiting before the right job can be found for you, but found one will be. But contemplate working above the snowline and the competition starts getting fierce.
There are hundreds of au pair and nanny agencies out there. A fair number can be found in or via the au pair and nanny pages of our directory but unless they have clients on their books living in a ski resort the chances of finding a job amongst the cold white stuff are zip.
While I’m sure many agencies do have such clients from time to time, three agencies that specifically state they offer child carers to parents living or visiting the Alps are Family Match, Peekaboo Childcare and My Travelling Nanny. My Travelling Nanny advertised in our Jobs Abroad Bulletin a couple of years ago and while the ad has long expired it still gives a good idea as to their requirements.
There are an increasing number of agencies that specialise in recruiting nannies for ski resorts. Most are based in French ski resorts and established by avid skiers spotting a gap in the market, often inspired by their own difficulties in finding good childcare for their own children. Most child carers are placed with smaller tour operators, chalet companies and hotels catering to British tourists.
Qualifications vary from agency to agency but while babysitting experience will be enough for most au pair agencies the ante is upped for wannabe Alpine nannies. Expect to need a UK or EU passport, between six months and two years’ experience in a working environment, enhanced CRB disclosure, a first aid certificate and a childcare qualification such as NVQ, BTEC or equivalent, to be aged over 21 and speak English.
Non smoking drivers with food hygiene knowledge, cooking skills and other languages will be especially sought after. Nannies do not need to be qualified or expected to teach or accompany children on skis.
In return successful applicants will receive free accommodation, flights, food, days off to ski, access to ski equipment, a lift pass and maybe a contract completion bonus.
Some agencies provide nannies to their local area only. Morzine has Cheeky Monkeys and the Portes du Soleil ski resort – including the village of Champery over the border in Switzerland – is served by Jack Frosts.
Merinannies started in Meribel but has expanded its operations across the 3 Valleys and into the Mont Blanc and Grand Massif ski areas. They can also place nannies in Switzerland and Austria and once the snow melts in summer resorts in Greece, Portugal and France. Also recruiting nannies for Austria is Nanny of the Alps.
Snowbugs specialises in Courchevel, La Tania, Meribel and surrounding areas. To work for Snowbugs all you need is a CRB check and a first aid certificate (which they can help you to gain). For Les Deux Alpes, Alpe d’Huez, Meribel, Courchevel and Morzine, try Snow Angel Nannies, set up by a professional British ski Instructor in response to feedback from skiing families. Snow Angels doesn’t have a jobs pages but we have seen them recruiting on ski job websites. Morzine Nannies, owned by the same people, does have a (at the time of writing slightly outdated) jobs page to get an idea of what they expect and offer.
Other agencies include Snowbabies Childcare (Tignes, Val d’Isere and St Foy), who employed seven nannies in 2012; t4nanny (Val d’Isere, Tignes, Meribel, Courchevel and La Tania); and Jelly and Ice Cream. Jelly and Ice Cream don’t have an employment page but were spotted in Natives.co.uk looking to recruit 13 full time nannies to cover the resorts of Val d’Isère, Tignes, St Foy, Courchevel, Méribel. Snowlittle also do not have a recruitment page.
Tour Operators & Chalet Companies
Numerous tour operators and independent chalet companies hire their own childcare staff directly. If a company deals in family holidays then it is likely they will need childcare staff to keep an eye on their holidaymakers’ children in one form or another. This can be either in a traditional one on one or small group nanny role or more along the lines of keeping the kids amused and occupied in a children’s club.
Qualifications vary depending on the role. Nannies will require much the same qualifications and experience as nanny agencies do but children’s club reps will only need their background checked, a first aid certificate and bags of enthusiasm and energy. British tour operators working on the continent will require staff to have a valid National Insurance number and have a UK address and bank account. If you are a national of another EU country start checking the websites of ski companies offering family holidays to your countrymen.
At the larger end of the market Crystal Holidays, part of the TUI group with Thomson and First Choice, employs over 850 overseas staff and recruits via www.jobsinwinter.co.uk. They have several ski resort roles for childcare staff, including nannies, childcare supervisors and children’s club leaders and assistants. Crystal operates in almost all European winter destinations including Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland, and also Andorra, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Spain and further afield in the USA, Canada and Japan.
Esprit Ski focus their ski operation in the Alps only and send holidaymakers to 11 resorts across France and another five in Austria, Italy and Switzerland. They state: “All our nurseries are run by professionally qualified Nursery Nurses – NNEB, B Tech, NVQ 2/3, CACHE DCE 3 or equivalent trained.” Most nurseries also have nursery assistants to support the nannies. Esprit have a dedicated recruitment site at www.workaseason.com.
The Work a Season site also handles the recruitment for the Ski Total and Inghams brands, offering in winter 2013/14 a variety of seasonal jobs based in 82 resorts across 12 countries. From a childcare perspective the most interesting position is Lapland Elf. No childcare qualifications are required for this role (but it is desirable). Instead Lapland elves should have acting, theatre or drama experience and qualifications, and customer service experience.
Two other larger tour operators are Mark Warner and Neilson. Mark Warner nannies are based in the crèche in one of their hotels in Austria, France and Italy. Nannies should be qualified or have two years full time childcare experience. Your responsibility will be to provide fun, creative and safe activities for children from four months to 12 years. Activities can include snowman building, hot chocolate trips and sledging. Head nannies with supervisory knowledge and organisational skills in all aspects of creche/nursery management are also wanted. Neilson‘s childcare roles are for nannies and children’s club staff.
Nanny positions in six French ski resorts are offered on a rota basis by Ski Beat, either in their crèche, afternoon childcare or as a private nanny with children aged three months to seven years. Ski Beat nannies have two free days off each week to enjoy skiing and only have to babysit one evening during the week.
Another company to try is Scott Dunn. While they have come a long way from the terraced house in Tooting Bec I used to walk past on the way to the pub, they are still quite a small company and their children’s clubs are confined to the two French resorts of Val d’Isère and Courchevel.
Other smaller companies that operate in a handful of resorts to try are Family Ski Company and Ski Famille, The Private Chalet Company, Alp Leisure and VIP Ski. VIP provides details of a day in the life of a nanny, while Alp Leisure have recruited in our sister site, the Jobs Abroad Bulletin, in the past. The ad is now a few years old but it does give an idea of the requirements and benefits of working for them.
One resort operations looking for childcare staff include Purple Ski (Meribel), Premier Neige (St Foy) and Simon Butler Skiing. Simon Butler do not have any employment information on their site but we have seen them recruiting in the past. They say “there is a nanny service for parents with younger children, or children who do not want to ski” for their two chalets in Megeve.
Other Au Pair & Nanny Websites
Alpine Child Care acts as an introductory agent, connecting self employed nannies with families looking for child care for their ski holidays.
Ski Season Recruitment Websites
We list numerous ski tour operators and ski resort websites in our Overseas Job Centre website and also carry job listings in our Jobs Abroad Bulletin. Other good sites to try are Natives, Season Workers, Ski-Jobs.co.uk, Travel Industry Careers and Resort Work.