Thinking About Working for a Year (or so) in the UK

Hi everyone

It’s a bit of cliché for young Australians, but I’m seriously thinking about taking next year off work (yep, they’ll let me do that!) and heading over to the UK for a year or so. At first I didn’t especially want to head to the UK, chiefly because of the hordes of Australians already there – I don’t really want to travel halfway across the world just to hang out with a bunch of Aussies! However, since my alternatives are the US (where I’ll face work restrictions) or the east coast of Australia, I may ending up caving in. Plus, I’ve always enjoyed the company of the young people from the UK who visit Australia, and my friends who have spent time in the mother country have returned with positive stories.

At this stage, I’m looking at working for most of the time I’m overseas. I’ve checked the visa requirements and it looks like I can get a four-year ancestry visa (my grandmother was born in the England) without work restrictions.

I’d prefer to arrange employment before I leave Australia, rather than fumble about for a few weeks trying to find a job. I’m not particularly set on a departure date: it could be early next year or towards the middle of 2004.

(Work qualifications-wise, I graduated from uni at the end of last year. I’m 23. I have a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting and Corporate Finance double major) and a Bachelor of Laws (both degrees completed with a Distinction average, if that matters). I’ve spent 2003 working as a Treasury analyst (which is a job my employer will hold for me, should I take 12 months leave without pay.))

I’m not particularly set on a particular field of employment: it could be accounting, it could be finance, it could be policy, it could be banking – I’d even consider doing law, at a very last resort. :eek:

(It’s all just work, as far as I’m concerned!)

I’m also haven’t set my mind on a destination within the UK. London would have its advantages, but really I’m not too fussy in this regard.

So essentially, I’m looking for work-related suggestions from our UK Dopers: how to get a job, what locations to target, what fields are open to me and any connected issues. Any advice at all is very welcome.

Thanks in advance!

London’s your best – but not only – bet for banking/finance/treasury work. Make sure you have plenty saved up for the rent, or a job lined up in advance!

Don’t be so organised about it! The big O.E is about having fun, taking risks and bumming about. If you are just going to do a similar job to what you are doing in Oz why bother going in the first place?

Go without arranging a job, stay in a hostel and get a feel for the place. Work in a pub (or similar) for a few months and just have fun. Bonus of pub work is accommodation is often provided and work is fun and very social.

Of course after a few months you might want to do something else because it is expensive there. But I did 18 mths in the UK, mostly in pubs, shops or picking fruit. Was pretty damn poor most of the time but the fun I had more then made up for it.

Yep, I’m with calm kiwi**. That seems to work for most people. You need to access grapevines; firstly in the hostel (who’s working doing what where and what the deals are, etc). Once you’re tuned in and working, you access other grapevines; like the proper job network through other travelling friends, Aussie-friendly employment agencies, etc. One step at a time.

And you’ll never be short of advice or information. As you know, the big UK adventure has been around for decades and so an entire industry has grown up around it in London.

Most Aussies Iknow get off the plane one day and are looking at different pubs (basic accom included) literally the next day.

Just book a couple of nights in a hostel and get on a plane.

Thanks for the replies, gentlemen.

I must admit I’m a little hesitant to just rock up and book in to a hostel – I’m generally pretty cautious by nature and like to plan things in advance.

OTOH, as L_C helpfully points out, there’s a whole culture built around expats in London, so I guess the necessary support to find a place to live/job shouldn’t be too hard to find.

calm kiwi: I’m not entirely keen on working at a pub, but I guess it’s something to consider. I’ve already done my five years of student poverty – and it kinda wore thin towards the end. Then again, I know I’d love the lifestyle…

Food for thought, in any event. Thanks again.

only one thing to add…if you make it over, come and see Ireland!!!

Narrad, I think you have to have a think about the reasons for coming over here, and what lifestyle would most suit you. You can go down the hostel/pub/time out/bumming around/travelling path, or you can see it as the chance to live like a local, get some valuable work experience and travel along the way.

I have been here for 5 years and took the latter route. I have always had a ‘proper’ job, although for flexibility I started off doing contract work do broaden my experience and not get stuck in the same job grind.

With your quals and experience (I agree with law as a last resort, by the way!) you should be able to land well-paid contract work in banking or finance etc. I would suggest contacting a few recruitment agencies who specialise in those areas before you come over, check out the internet job sites and just get a feel for what is around and what the going rate is. I ended up being quire underpaid for my first couple of contracts because I hadn’t done my research.

You can still travel as much as you want/can afford to and have fun, but you’ll get more ££ for professional work which will make a big difference to your enjoyment.

As an aside, I have very few Australian friends here, made easier by the fact that my partner is English and so I had a bit of a network set up. Although this wasn’t a calculated approach, like you I didn’t see the point in coming all this way to only meet other Australians.

Good luck. If you would like any more info feel free to email me.

Thanks for the excellent advice, pingalondon. On further reflection, I’d prefer to use the trip as an opportunity to work in a professional capacity in a new environment, rather than the hostel/pub work route. I’ll have a look at recruitment agencies in the coming weeks.

irishgirl: for sure! :slight_smile: