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Au Pair in America wins Global Youth Travel Award for New Diversity and Inclusion Initiative
WYSE News | February 16, 2022

Winner of the Global Youth Travel Award for New Diversity and inclusion Initiative
Innovation: DEI Learning Journey series
Guest: Yasmine Osman, Deputy Director, Au Pair in America

Au Pair in America (APIA) is cultural exchange programme with the added benefit of live-in childcare assistance. APIA is a division of AIFS who have been providing cultural and educational exchanges since 1964.

The Learning Journey series created by Au Pair in America was meant to give both external and internal staff the opportunity to educate themselves in a self-paced environment.  Weekly themes were created, keeping in mind that members of our team have different time commitments to put forward on this journey. Each day offered three opportunities to engage with the material of the day and the opportunity to devote what time they could. Each week ended with a voluntary discussion group to discuss the material.

What is the most innovative thing about the DEI Learning Journey series?
The work to build the learning Journey series came from a group of devoted women. It truly came from our hearts with the full intention to make this simple and doable for all.

How did this initiative stand out compared to others you have done in the past?
This was APIA’s first initiative that focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. While we do a lot of educating on cultural adaptation and other related trainings in our field of business, we had not approached this subject matter with our staff.

What were the unique challenges and successes for the series?
Keeping everyone engaged and making sure everyone understood the importance of the material that would be presented in the series. Making this feel like a simple task instead of a requirement from management was important, so staff taking part truly wanted to do so and to grow with the journey and the material presented in it.

How did the DEI Learning Journey series evolve?
The team that worked on the Learning Journey series represented all parts of our programme; it had both internal and external staff, as well as upper-level management. It took the team several months to come up with a detailed plan that tackled important issues in a simple format to follow. The entire team met several times to review the material and ideas until the Learning Journey series material was finalised.

What else did you need to adapt in order for the initiative to be successful?
The team had to embrace that not everyone would fully devote their time to the entire Learning Journey series; our goal was to get the material out to everyone and that they made the time to understand it’s importance. As with a lot of new initiatives, coming out of the gate strong is easy. Keeping everyone engaged and the momentum going is always the hard part.