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WORKgateways UK e-newsletter

Monthly e-News for the UK Working Traveler

Volume 1 Issue 3


Introductory Comments – Happy New Year – a glance back and a view forward

In the UK!

In Australia…

In Every Issue:


Introductory Comments – Happy New Year – A Glance Back and a View Forward

WORKgateways welcomes 2003!

With a glance back…

2002: The demand in the UK job market for Aussie and Kiwi engineers and town planners with at least a year of experience remained high and fairly consistent throughout the year. Changes included the UK governments’ recent proposal to ease working restrictions on the working holiday visa as well as various new industry software. Best of all, we saw a huge increase in the number of engineers and town planners whose UK plans WORKgateways has helped to realise by assisting them with information and interviews pre-travel, and with finding a great job upon arrival in the UK. Enjoy your time in the UK!

And a view forward…

2003 looks to be another stellar year in the world of working travellers to the UK with continued demand for qualified Australian/ New Zealand and South African candidates and exciting UK projects and positions at all levels. WORKgateways has geared up on several fronts. Our new website provides more unique information and pre-travel support to our candidates whilst our UK based recruitment partners anxiously await news of WORKgateways’ arriving candidates and work towards having UK interviews and jobs waiting for you.

For all your questions about The WORKgateways Difference, and how we help you with employment for your UK trip – click on


In the UK!

Top jobs: Geotechnical – Tunnelling

You’ve heard of the ‘Tube’. So you know it’s an underground train and not a PVC pipe. Well it is a pipe, basically, except it moves, and carries thousands of people to work and home each day. It exists in the dark spaghetti-like world of tunnels under London. London has been built on a pre-historic lake-bed, ancestor of the Thames that is now a vast alluvial plain with a water table level not too far beneath Trafalgar Square. For a city so reliant on the Tube this is often a worry and a problem. Since the end of the industrial revolution, industry’s demand on central London’s water table has drastically reduced causing the level to rise and creep in on the city’s main transportation lines.

This serves to give you a bit of background to the challenges facing the existing tube maintenance teams (covering nearly every discipline) as well as to those who are getting ready to build the newest tube line and extensions to existing lines.

At the current stage of developments the demand is for geotechnical or civil engineers with at least some experience of design of tunnelling projects. Further on we’ll see a shortage of, and therefore a high demand for, site-based construction professionals with experience of tunnelling projects. Any rail related experience is also an advantage. Along with the civil design goes the need for electrical design of tunnelling lighting, safety features and railway signalling design. Mechanical and electrical managers are needed, as are technicians and CAD draughters for both civil and M&E project components.

Positions are often based in central London or within the environs of greater London, all commutable. Contract positions can be more common than permanent positions, due to the nature of the projects’ demands, however many British consultancies realise the value of longer term staff and seek to fill positions on a permanent basis.


British Banking: Your three main options…

FAQ: How do I open a bank account in the UK? What are my options? I’ve heard it’s very difficult.

ANS: As you may have heard, opening a bank account in the UK is no picnic. If you think of the banks as doing you a favour by keeping your cash for you, you might begin to understand, and to be less bewildered, after your UK bank encounters.
Sarcasm aside, thankfully the process can be made easier. Both banks and travellers’ services companies have recognised the need for some kind of assistance.

The Scoop:
Left to their own devices working travellers arriving in the UK will not have much luck in opening a bank account without a fixed address (lease or bills in your name) and a job (signed letter from your employer stating your salary). However, once you do have an account opened, benefits do follow such as automatic offering of a credit card and an over-draught on your account (be careful of that over-draught!).
Some people will find work within days while others will take longer. If you do not want to rely on credit card advances and travellers’ cheques it may be very wise to consider preparing a bit before you leave.

Your options before you leave can be categorised as follows:
1. Open an account from Australia with a related institution
2. Purchase a start-up banking package from a traveller’s company
3. Do nothing and wait until you arrive

1. You may open a UK bank account through HSBC Australia. Your bank account will be with HSBC London. ATM machines, though not everywhere, are located fairly conveniently. You may have to deposit a minimum amount in order to open it.

2. You may also consider purchasing a traveller’s UK banking package whereby a bank account can be opened by you immediately upon your arrival whether or not you have a job or a permanent London address. This seems like the way to go for most working travellers and is proving to be very popular.

A great package is available through 1st Contact travellers’ company and can be purchased through WORKgateways. This package costs AUS$55 and because it is backed by a well-established company, the banks waive some of their usual conditions which tend to be so inconvenient for travellers. WORKgateways can provide you with further information on this package, and tell you what other good things the package includes. Email:

3. Do nothing until you get there and you had better be sure you have access to sufficient funds to see you through at least 3 weeks! Travellers’ cheques, credit cards and debit cards will work however you’ll be depleting your Aussie/Kiwi funds rather rapidly. You need to find work as soon as possible, which will enable you to better choose an area in which to live and from which to commute, after which you will be able to open a bank account.

It will help if you bring a recent and original copy of your bank statement with your name and permanent address on it. Common banks in which travellers will open their accounts include Lloyd’s TSB London, Barclay’s Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, Scotia Bank.

Top London Tip: Denmark Hill

The Phoenix and Firkin is a little known Aussie treasure deep in the heart of south east London. The pub fare is way above average in taste and choice and below average in price, the décor and atmosphere are traditional, yet clean and bright (unlike so many others…). There is no better place to watch a weekend one-day cricket game or sit and watch the summer sun go down over Denmark Hill with a wee pint ‘o lager.

How to get there:

Connex South East train from London Bridge to Denmark Hill Stn (four stops only). The pub is literally built on a bridge that spans the tracks. If you follow the stairs from track-side it will bring you right into the pub; how convenient. Trains also run to and from Victoria Stn from Denmark Hill. This is a really interesting area of London to explore on foot as well; being on a hill, the houses can be gorgeous and actually command ‘views’, seriously.

Where exactly:
The Phoenix and Firkin
Denmark Hill Railway Station
Windsor Walk
Denmark Hill

In Australia

Software Skills: Which ones will make a difference to your UK job search?

You’re excited for your UK trip, but it’s still six months, or a year away. Why not consider gaining or upgrading your software skills through work, TAFE, Uni or just at home. There is a big advantage within some engineering disciplines for those who have knowledge and some applicable experience with some of the more widely used industry software packages.

Remember that having knowledge of how to use certain industry software, but no actual work experience with it, is better than having no knowledge of the systems and programs at all. This can often be a deciding factor in not only whether you get the job but whether you get the interview in the first place.

Below is a list of popular industry software used frequently in the UK and the disciplines in which it is used. These skills are highly sought after:

  • Structural Design – Space Gass, Autocad v.14, 2000, Microstation, Geo Pac-Rebar, Robot, Superstress, Strapp, Lusas.
  • Water Network Design – Hydroworks, Infoworks, MapInfo
  • Drainage and Open Channel Design – HEC-RAS, RORB,
  • Project Planning (Construction) – MS Project, Primavera Suretrack, Excel
  • Rail: MS Project, Primavera, Excel, Access
  • CAD Draughting – Autocad v.14 – 2002, Microstation
  • Roads Design – MOSS MX, PDS
  • Transportation Planning software – Oscady, Arcady, Picady
  • Quantity Surveying – WinQS

See UK job descriptions at

New for 2003! The new WORKgateways website

WORKgateways is proud, happy AND relieved to announce the arrival of our gorgeous new website. The new site will provide:

  • even more tangible and current job related information from the UK updated regularly
  • WORKgateways top 10 jobs filled in each industry; including location, pay rates etc
  • job descriptions within each industry
  • even more inside information on living in the UK including:
    • How to find a place to live and where to live
    • Cost of living in the UK – A Guide
    • Tips and hidden costs involved in renting in the UK,
    • A complete and answered list of your most Frequently Asked Questions
    • More specific Work Visa related information and links
    • And many more LINKS to related UK travellers’ sites.

Thank you to who built and optimized the website, who worked with gusto and listened with patience. – for website new-build or refurbishment J

Visit us now!

In Every Issue:

Trip Idea #3: Annecy – La Belle France

La Ville D’Annecy

Annecy is not far from Chamonix/ Mont Blanc. It is popular with the French and their European neighbours. You won’t necessarily find hordes of Australians, New Zealanders or North American travellers, but you will find locals on holiday. Annecy is a medium sized town full of real character, particularly in the old town where bumpy cobble-stone streets, split by flowing canals, are re-united by stone footbridges.

To Do: Annecy is gorgeous and full of activities year-round. In winter, drive up to the ski fields, like La Clusaz, which is a small family style French resort about 45 minutes up the mountain from Annecy - tire chains required in winter. In summer, Lake Annecy is a blue jewel amidst emerald mountains; swimming, boating and trekking are easily accomplished.

To eat: a must try is the local and traditional ‘heart-stopping’ winter meal; Raclette. It consists of delicious cheese melted right off the cheese-wheel and served with various traditional accompaniments. Whenever you finish your cheese, a freshly melted portion arrives; great unless you are lactose intolerant, have high cholesterol, a weight problem…etc. Winter can hit with a vengeance so be prepared for more snow than you have ever seen whilst not on a ski slope; unless you know Canada.

Fly/Drive: 5 hours from Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport towards Lyon, take the turn-off towards Geneva but stay on the French side of the border, follow signs to Annecy, and then to ‘centre-ville’ or ‘lac d’Annecy’.

Where to stay:
L’Hotel du Chateau is recommended; great view, great price, book ahead, particularly for Room 18; £35 per double, £9 for breakfast.
16 Rampe Château Annecy 74000, Tel: 04 50 45 27 66



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? Please email with any comments.


In the Next Issue: 20th February 2003

Industry Spotlight: Site-based positions – for consultant, contractor and local authority
Your CV: Writing your CV for the UK job market - things you’ll need to know.
Trip Idea #4 – tell me your great trip idea at (I would love to hear from you as my stock of great ideas is depleting! Tell me where it is, how to get there, when to go, why it’s great and where to stay.)

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