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WORKgateways UK e-newsletter

Monthly e-News for the UK Working Traveler

Volume 1 Issue 2


Introductory Comments – The butcher, the baker, the…; your role in the village.

In the UK!

In Australia…

In Every Issue:

Introductory Comments – Global flux

Planet earth is in flux. The world is getting smaller thanks to the internet and Australia
smaller thanks to Virgin Blue; but neither without their shrinking pains. At home and
internationally, global and local issues encompassing trade, security, government,
environment, finance are at the boiling point. What role do you play in this fledgling global
village? Are you a part of building, fixing-up, designing and planning our physical world?
Engineering, Town Planning and Architecture are all industries in which one can feel a direct
and important contribution to our physical environment. While abstract issues and arguments
swirl around the globe, the physical reality that shapes our daily lives becomes increasingly
more safe, healthy, efficient, comfortable, and enjoyable thanks to you, who devote your
careers to the continuous betterment of our built environment.
Be aware of the issues and problems, but focus on the progress and the future!

In the UK!

Top jobs: Design your Future

While a lot of focus has lately been on the demand for professional site and construction
personnel in both the UK and in Australia, it must be said that historical high demand for
design engineers, architectural design technicians and town planners continues..
Opportunities exist in civil infrastructure design such as water and roads, tunnels, as well as
building and structural design for high rises, commercial/retail developments, houses, and
bridges etc.

Examples of opportunities currently available:

1. Structural Design Engineer – experienced in use of AutoCAD 2000 and Space Gass is an
asset, design of commercial high-rise developments in London, 6 month contract, rate neg.
2. Water network design and modelling – engineer experienced in design of water networks
using industry software Infoworks or Hydroworks, west of London, contract rate £16/hour.
3. Civil Engineer – degree qualified civil engineer required for roads and highways design
projects, some site experience an asset, experience with MOSS - MX design software highly
4. Architectural Design Draughter – solid AutoCAD v.14 or 2000 experience essential.
Project work will involve a range of urban residential new-build and refurbishment work.
6 month contract ongoing, central London, £15/hour.
5. Transportation Planner – Located in Reading, contract placement – 4 months ongoing, rate
neg., experience using Arcady, Picady or Oscady highly regarded.
6. Experienced Town Planner who has worked in either private consultancy or local
government required for development assessment work in south east London Borough.
Contract, 3 months ongoing, £14/hour

Knowledge of design related software is essential. If you are a draughter or civil technician,
you will likely need to have a good grasp of AutoCAD; generally the two latest versions
should be sufficient. Some engineering consultancies will use Microstation however
AutoCAD is more common. With solid skills in at least one of the above you can be matched
to a suitable employer.
Please contact us for more about these roles, and how to maximize your experience!

Hidden Job Gems UK: Using your experience in the British world of rail

Firstly, Rail in the UK is considered cool, cool, hip and groovy. Not like in Australia (so they
tell me); and not least because of the often substantial size of the pay packets one can receive.

Normally, if you are a civil engineer with experience in stormwater design, bridge design,
site management of tunnelling projects etc, you would look for a role in your experience
area. Not everyone realises that engineers working for London Underground Ltd and British
Rail for example, are often not ‘rail’ engineers, they may have a very similar looking CV to
you before they arrived in the UK. There are key skill areas, often most easily developed outside of rail, that add a huge amount of interest to your CV when viewed by rail industry
recruitment consultants.

Any sort of project related responsibilities, database management, scheduling, costing and
‘job manager’ style roles or duties in nearly any kind of engineering project, and you may be
able to add significant value to a new build or maintenance rail project.

Some key words that top the list: Primavera, Suretrack, MS Project, Access database design,
document control, job management, performance or output management and reporting,
estimating/ quantity surveying, structural steel and RC detailing.

Of course, actual experience in the rail industry is a huge asset!

The rail industry in the UK can offer enormous potential to arriving candidates. There is a lot
to keep your mind occupied initially as you adjust to a new industry. Jobs are varied and the
pay rates are usually quite good compared to other industries. Consider this especially if you
are looking to ‘adjust’ your engineering career to a slightly different direction – it is a great
stepping stone to more management style responsibilities.

If you are interested in UK rail opportunities, please let us know when you register, or email

Limited Options: Your questions answered on Ltd Companies

One reason many UK working travellers choose to start a Ltd Company is to maximise after-tax
earnings if they are a self-employed contractor. In order to benefit from Ltd Company
status you must genuinely be a self-employed contractor and must not be an employee who
has chosen this status for tax saving purposes only! It is not worth the worry in your life to
bend the rules with IR35 as you may end up paying a lot in ‘owed tax’ if your tax submission
and employment status is questioned by the UK tax police at Inland Revenue.

A Ltd Company is a legal business status that is recognised by Inland Revenue. Employees
cannot set up a limited company as the tax benefit is for those who are running their own
consulting business where they contract out their services to clients and operate under a
business name. Since the introduction of IR35 in 1999, most Ltd Companies available are
‘off the shelf’ companies which are purchased and joined through an agent who has already
established and incorporated these Ltd Companies. The difference in tax between this, and a
PAYE, Pay As You Go, employee tax scheme can be significant.

It is important to review the guidelines and criteria surrounding the IR35 legislation on Ltd
Companies to ensure you understand the restrictions and are able to choose the best product
to suit your UK employment plans.

What is the fee, and in what circumstances is it worthwhile to set up and operate a Ltd

  • Fees can vary greatly as they can include either of: only the initial set-up fee, or also
    extend to cover ongoing paperwork and Inland Revenue submissions.
  • An ‘off the shelf’ Ltd Company, with all administrative services included, will cost
    you around £300..
  • In general, if you intend to spend at least a year and a half to two years working in the
    UK on several (min of around 3) contracts, it may be worth looking into it further.

Note: Ask yourself how much time and effort do you want to put in to organising and
submitting the paperwork required to operate a Ltd Company?
It can be very worthwhile to get the ‘full service’ option given the myriad other things you’ll
have going on as you settle in and enjoy life in the UK!

Links to well-recognised travellers’ companies, who can set up and run your Ltd Company, as well as links to the UK’s Inland Revenue site can be found at

Top London Tip: It’s just the vibe o’ the thing….

Dark streets, slight drizzle (yep London), deserted alleys, sudden bright light, streaky colours
from wet neon signs (London), honking horns, piercing foreign calls (still London),
intoxicating sweet, spicy aromas floating…(aaaah, Brick Lane). If you didn’t stop for a curry
we’d question your sanity, however DO NOT leave the vicinity immediately. You must visit
the Vibe Bar, in Brick Lane, just north of the Bangladeshi and Indian curry houses. Like
Matisse moved in with the Adams Family, the balance is good; the atmosphere chilled yet
won’t put you to sleep and the vibes are purple and red. Plus: Quentin Tarantino WAS
spotted there one time.

Brick Lane, EC2, east out of Liverpool St Stn. towards Spitalfields market and church.
Follow the aroma.

Antipodean: what did you call me?

Just like the Pom who, for years, stammered ‘uh, not much Sherlock’ whenever confronted
with ‘hey, wassup homes?’ from an American, it pays to know what you’re being called, or
at least it avoids embarrassing confusion.

This word is not used with much frequency down under and most of us hear it for the first
time as we settle in to life in the UK.

Antipodean means ‘one who is from the antipodes’. ‘Antipodes’ refers to the various land
masses encompassed by the geographical region known as Oceania and the phrase was
coined at the height of Eurocentrism by the English in the 1700’s. The term literally means
‘directly opposite or opposed’ (to Europe!) or from the Latin ‘backwards feet’.

Today, people hailing from Australia or New Zealand (or any country in Oceania) are called
Antipodeans frequently in the UK.

It might seem ‘anti’quated, but it’s just a useful term for those who find Australian/New
Zealander/South African is too long to say or write – which is true..


Off-shore jobs: Mais oui, je parle Francais!

Never underestimate the value of speaking another language in taking your career off in most
interesting and unexpected directions. It is challenging, yet very rewarding, to gain even
basic communication skills in a foreign language.

Engineers in particular, often find that careers in mining, natural resources and civils
construction can be located off-shore and overseas and knowledge of the local language will
not only put you ahead of the crowd to win a job, but make your life much easier, and more
culturally rich, once on-site. Managers will find that knowledge of the local language plays
an important role in team communication, trouble-shooting and effective project delivery.

Different regions of the world tend to emphasize the need for different foreign languages.
North America is always in need of Spanish speaking technical personnel while in Australia
and New Zealand, Asian languages are very useful for work in the myriad central, east and
south east development regions. European projects in Africa indicate that working
knowledge of French is highly beneficial, particularly in central and west Africa.

So why not sign up for evening classes or an intensive language learning vacation with your
family and expand your linguistic horizons!


In Every Issue:

Trip Idea #2: Meet: “The Menu Matrix”

Utrechtsedwarstafel Restaurant - Amsterdam

This is a jet-setting and indulgent style of culinary venture but extremely worth every Guilder. (N.B. Do this while you are still earning pounds!)

Igor uses his culinary artistry and Hans, his excellent wine nose to match each course and
spoil you absolutely rotten; you will not soon forget this dining experience.

The details:
You do not order, you indicate only what foods you do not like.
Then you choose, from the Menu Matrix, the number of courses and the level of ‘gourmet’ at
which you wish to dine and drink.
You can choose 3, 4 or 5 courses and one of: simple food combinations, medium complex,
and gastronomic-delight-super-gourmet combinations. The price ranges from 45 Euros to
101 Euros per person (see why you need to be earning pounds!)..
When you stand up to leave and walk out into Amsterdam’s night air, the effect of the myriad
varieties of quality alcohol and rich, delicious food is that of a warm and heavy intoxication
that leaves you wondering if you’ll make it home, or nap ‘just for one minute’ on that comfy
looking bench next to the canal.

Contact Details:
Utrechtsedwarstafel Restaurant
Utrechtsedstraat, Amsterdam, just off Prinsengracht. Phone number: 31 (0) 20 6254189
Book at table for your next visit, and meet The Menu Matrix

Stuff you might like: Links List

Your Say: email your say to

Do you have questions, comments; is there anything you’d like to see addressed in
Workgateways e-newsletter?

In the Next Issue:

  • British Banking: fact and fiction
  • Trip Idea #3 – tell me your great trip idea at
  • Your CV: Writing your CV for the UK job market.
  • Your UK software: what skills does your industry rate highly?

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