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Published on Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Are these the best jobs in travel?

Have you ever fantasised about jacking it all in, buying a one-way ticket to the Alps and spending all day on the slopes and every night in the bars? Who hasn't, right? So why not make your dream a reality by applying for a job with a ski operator?

OK, you might not get to ski every day, you will definitely have to work hard and you won't necessarily be well paid, but if you're more motivated by pleasure than pay and you don't mind hard graft, working in a ski resort could be the experience of a lifetime.

Here, four ski nannies talk about their work.

Jamie-Lee Philipson, aged 23 is VIP Ski's head nanny in St Anton. She has previously spent two seasons as a nanny in St Anton.

What made you decide to become a ski nanny? I always wanted to be a nanny but didn't really know how to start. Someone I knew had worked a ski season and had a great time, so I had a look on and saw this job..I had never skied before I came here, but luckily the other nannies were the same so we could all learn together. We had such a great time that all three of us came back for a second season

How often do you get out on the mountain? I get Sunday off, and either Wednesday morning or afternoon, but sometimes I don't start until lunchtime so I can ski in the mornings.

What qualifications do you need? To be a nanny with VIP SKI you have to have a specific childcare qualification; I've got an NVQ level 3, but other people have CACHE diplomas or BTECs, or some nannies are qualified teachers.

What is the pay like? Nannies are some of the best paid staff in resort, and on top of that we can earn extra from babysitting and tips. I know lots of people who have actually saved money during the season (one nanny I know saved £2000!), although I spent most of the money I saved on a new pair of skis - I want to buy a snowboard this season.

What advice would you give to other people who fancy becoming ski nannies? Totally do it! It has been an amazing experience. It's not just a 'normal' childcare job, and I would never have learnt to ski and made so many friends in a job at home. It was a bit scary at first, but I love it.

Gemma Teasdale, on the left, is a private nanny co-ordinator for Crystal Ski, having worked for parent company TUI for three years.

What childcare experience did you have before applying to TUI? I worked in a private nursery, working my way up to supervisor. I love working with children but after seven years I decided I wanted to travel but still work with children as that is my passion.

 Are you a skier or a boarder? I ski but I am very excited that I am going to learn to snowboard this season. I absolutely love getting out on the mountain.

Can you afford to enjoy yourself on what you earn? I earn little less than I got in my job in the UK,  but with accommodation, food, ski equipment and lift pass included in the  monthly wage you do end up a lot better off.  Also, you have such a busy social life and get to meet so many different people. I have made some of my best friends whilst working for Crystal.

 What's the best part of being a Crystal private nanny?  It's the extra, special touches that you put in to it to make the family and children's holiday the best it can be.  One of the greatest benefits of being a private nanny is that you get to experience a variety of ski areas and resorts, which is very enjoyable. Moving around during the season to work as a private nanny keeps you fresh and motivated.

Katie Bowes, second row, far right, has worked as a nanny with family ski specialist Esprit for many years.

What were you doing before joining Esprit? I worked in a day nursery at home, where I had been offered a job after completing my childcare course.

What made you decide to become a ski nanny? I had always fancied working abroad but was a bit scared about working away from home.  I loved my job in the nursery but was becoming tired of the same thing day in day out so I decided to look for jobs overseas.  I found a position as a nanny with Esprit and loved the sound of the role so I applied. At the interview a member of staff talked in detail about the company and made me feel that I would be well looked after.

Do you get much time to ski/board? Most days I would be off either in the morning of in the afternoon, allowing me plenty of time to get out on the mountain.  You also get a day off every week to go out.

What would you say are the best parts of the job? Definitely the environment we work in, it's a great experience for both staff and the children.  You can take the children to see huskies, sledge rides, build snowmen and all kinds of other snowy activities that you can't do at home. Children remember their holidays for the rest of their lives and you are having a very important input on those memories.  It always feels amazing when a parent tells you that you have made their holiday.

And the worst part? You can sometimes work long hours, however it's very rewarding and when you are off, it makes up for it.  In quieter weeks you get more time off.

What qualifications do you need? A qualified NVQ level 3 or equivalent.  I have a BTEC National Diploma in Child Care learning and development.  Nursery assistants are qualified to level 2.  Esprit snow rangers don't necessarily need a qualification, but they do need experience with children. 

What advice would you give to other people who fancy becoming ski nannies? Go for it.  Working with Esprit has been the best job I have ever had, it's so rewarding and such a great experience.  You meet friends for life, gain life skills and also find new things that you will enjoy.  Learning to snowboard has been great for me. Staff can work their way up in the company, I am returning this year as a Head Nanny.

Catherine Brooksmith is a nanny with Scott Dunn.

What where you doing before becoming a ski nanny? I found out about overseas opportunities while I was studying my childcare diploma at college. Initially I worked a summer season with another operator where I met someone who had worked with ScottDunn. She spoke about how amazing working with Scott Dunn was and how well the staff weretreated so I decided to apply.

What made you decide to become a ski nanny? I wanted to travel and to work with children and this gave me the chance to do both. The idea ofworking and learning to ski or snowboard really interested me and it seemed like an amazing opportunity to work and play in the snow.

Do you get much time on the pistes? We get one day off a week. We also get a week's holiday during the season which is fantastic!

What would you say are the best parts of the job? I get to live and work surrounded by the beautiful snowy Alps. I have a passion for working with children and you can't find a more exciting environment in which to play games and entertain children! I also love to help out at ski school - watching them develop into little skiers is amazing!

What sort of training do you get? We are given an intense training course at the beginning of season that is spread out over three to six days, which includes first aid, cooking skills, food hygiene and resort orientation. It is also a fantastic opportunity for all the team to get to know each other.

Do you earn enough to enjoy living in resort? The pay is really good compared to other holiday companies, especially if you take into account everything that is included, e.g. accommodation, ski pass, ski hire, ski lessons etc. As nannies we are lucky enough to earn extra money from babysitting and tips, which help contribute to spending money whilst living in resort.

What advice would you give to other people who fancy becoming a ski nanny? If you love working with children and are keen to travel then this is the job for you! I have now completed 15 seasons and still love my role! Whether your intention is to work one season or 15 you are guaranteed to have a fantastic experience!

Next week we talk to chalet hosts about their role.

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