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WORKgateways UK e-newsletter

Monthly e-News for the UK Working Traveler

28th March 2003 Volume 1 Issue 5

WORKgateways e-newsletter is written for UK working travellers whether you are in the UK, impatiently awaiting your departure date or thinking about going in the future….scroll down to view this month’s topics, articles and info.


Introductory Comments: Would the war in Iraq alter your overseas plans?

What’s New: We have a winner…Katherine Groves! Thanks to all those who entered!! Next month: win a bottle of cool and delicious Kiwi white…

In the UK!

Still in Australia/NZ/SA/Canada?

In Every Issue:


Introductory Comments – Would the war affect your UK travel plans?

When an otherwise normal urban dweller in any westernised country packs up their life and straps on a backpack, there is a transformation. An intrepid, invincible explorer is born who throws caution to the wind in the name of ‘real’ travel adventures. Normal rules and consular warnings for families on holiday don’t seem to apply to this group. Recently, after just reading headlines on SMH on-line about violent clashes in Cairo where foreigners were not safe, my inbox welcomed in a new email. “Holy %*$# guys, this is insane, I’m in Cairo at the moment and being escorted to safety by armed men – hopefully see you in London in a few weeks!” Just another in trepid sane WORKgateways candidate and another good story to stuff into your pack for the grandkids I suppose.

WORKgateways has not seen any decrease in Aussies, Kiwis or South Africans travelling to the UK. In fact, we have seen the normal increase in numbers usual for this time of year, being the long-awaited northern Spring. The only reason we have heard lately (and heard many times unfortunately) is that trips have had to be delayed due to ‘my bloody stocks taking a big plunge south”.

All we can hope for is that the war in Iraq, now started, will wrap up quickly with few casualties and sufferings, that the stock markets will strengthen and return to previous highs, and that worn and dusty backpacks will continue to be seen traversing all corners of our earth. Whilst having faith in all, I’m really only convinced of the latter.


What’s New

We have a winner! Thank you to Aussie traveller Katherine Groves for her great trip idea. Katherine can now drown any homesick thoughts with a beauty bottle of Aussie Cab Sav from WORKgateways. Scroll down to Great Trip Idea # 5 to read what Katherine has to say about…

You could be April’s contributing travel writer: What great trip experience do you want to share with others?

For next month’s best trip idea: win a bottle of Kiwi White to your door anywhere in the world. Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc anyone? Email:

past issues of WG e-News are now on-line


In the UK!

Job Industry Updates:

Engineering: There are no major changes in the engineering design recruitment industry. Recruitment in both local government and private industry remains busy. Graduates (around 1 year experience) are having more luck finding good positions of late.

Construction: Picking up with the warmer weather approaching. Both contract and permanent positions are readily available for civils and building projects. As opposed to Australia and New Zealand, UK site positions for engineers often require surveying skills. If you have these, or can brush up on these prior to arrival you will be ahead of the competition.

Town Planning: very busy at present is the word from our UK recruitment partners. They see this continuing for the next several months. UK local governments receive their annual budgets in March/April meaning they need to spend this money or lose it! The resulting recruitment surge takes place in April, May and throughout the summer.

Nursing, Medical and Teaching: Welcome to WORKgateways. In response to the many 1000’s of people who visit our website daily and who come from other walks of working life, we have undertaken an expansion of WORKgateways UK services. For those of you who are joining the WORKgateways community you will find the e-newsletter becoming more targeted to your particular interests.

Advice for all: WORKgateways will put you in touch with UK recruitment consultants before you depart home: keep in touch with these recruitment consultants! Consider including WORKgateways to your email list. Our UK partner recruitment consultants will be working hard to keep you constantly employed throughout the duration of your UK trip but they need to know your plans. If you go travelling once in the UK they can aim to have positions waiting for you upon your return! How? Keep WORKgateways up-to-date with your plans and availability.


Contract vs. Permanent in the UK: Part II – Permanent

Last month in WORKgateways contract vs. permanent debate:

“But wait; there is an important sniff of reality, an essential balance that has to be considered. We forgot to ask the question: is there enough contract work for 7 out of 10 new arrivals? Well…no there isn’t.”

This month: the joys of permanent work….

Why do so many harbour a slight fear of permanent work? Well, let’s consider the word ‘permanent’. Perhaps that is not the best term for employers and recruitment consultants to use. Who wants anything to be ‘permanent’ especially a job, nowadays? Let’s instead call it a staff position or maybe a ‘non-contract’. That seems much less of a foregone conclusion.

FAQ: What is the expected commitment for a ‘non-contract’ job?

Would you call two years permanent? Definitely not. Two years is about the amount of time that any working traveller can stay in the same place without getting itchy feet, ants in their pants etc. Two years is about the minimum amount of time you are expected to commit to an employer if you accept a staff position with them. This is because they will invest in you with training, perhaps sponsorship and employee benefits and they expect a reasonable investment from you in return.

Pros and Cons of a staff position: taking sides…

Pros: stronger working relationships with colleagues, can be more immersed in real UK life, often job training and courses are provided, usually generous holiday allowance and paid leave, and most obvious is job security.

Cons: potentially difficult to take paid leave for your 6 week trip to Turkey and Egypt, perceived potential for lower overall earnings.

Let’s consider the claim that a ‘non-contract’ position allows you to really immerse in the UK working culture. Imagine actually meeting and getting to know real Britons, perhaps you’d be invited to dine at their home, meet their dog and drink at their local? Now that’s a different UK experience from All Bar One, Canary Wharf and colleagues Bruce, Gaza and Kylie. Not better necessarily just different.

In addition, ‘non-contract’ positions often include benefits such as training in UK regulations and policies, sick leave, holiday pay, vehicle allowance, and sometimes health coverage and overtime pay.

Tackling another argument; differences in pay between contract and non-contract positions are sometimes not as great as legend would tell you. Taking a general case and looking just at the numbers, contracts seem to pay more. However in order for this to be true a contract worker would usually need to be working for at least 10 out of 12 months of the year. If your contract goes that long, that’s great, however many contracts may be shorter. You’ll then be looking for another contract which can easily take a month before a suitable position arises and you’ve interviewed for it, been offered and started. This time can add up. You won’t go broke but it can minimise differences in earnings between contract and non-contract positions.

Of course not everyone has a fear of the more stable option. ‘Non-contract’ positions are very popular among Aussies, Kiwis and South Africans travelling to the UK. Some people actively seek out the security, training and career progression offered. Occasionally sponsorship is included in the offer of a staff position for those who only have a 2-year visa for the UK. This can be a big benefit.

So what is two years anyway? Remember, once a working traveller, always a working traveller. The two- year itch will be with you always. Whether you conquer each bout with an adventurous holiday, a change in job or a move to another country you will always have a built in clock that never allows you to stagnate. Or maybe it never allows you to settle?


Your UK Interview:

This Month: Before the Interview:

Before you head off to any job interview you need to do the following:

  • Confirm date, time, location and directions with your UK recruitment consultant
  • Ask for an interview ‘pre-brief’ from your UK recruitment consultant either in person or over the phone. Your UK consultant will ideally go over the role again, what the interviewers are looking for, possible questions and generally get you prepped and ready to go.
  • Do at least a little research on the company. Do a lot of research on the company if you are interviewing for a permanent position.
  • Take a copy of your CV with you.
  • Think of at least two good questions to ask the interviewers – neither of which should involve pay rates or holiday allowance. Asking about the team or office environment is always a safe bet.

Next Month: Interview Questions: Typical and Tricky


Top London Tip: Leather Lane – London’s secret market

Leather Lane - no, this place isn’t some kinky throw back from Soho or Amsterdam’s red light district. Leather Lane is one of the oldest market streets in London and it remains virtually undiscovered by tourists. The street has been there since before the 13th century and the market is nearly 300 years old. A short, narrow street between High Holborn and Theobold’s Road, Leather Lane is as central as you get. During the day Leather Lane is a bustling pedestrian thoroughfare where local workers eat and shop. You can buy everything from coats, handbags and shoes to linen, flowers & plants, jewellery, fruit & veg, and electronics. Sandwich bars in this area do a roaring trade and at lunchtime the place is packed out with browsing business suits jostling serious shoppers amidst cacophonous cockney sales cries. Prices at this market will make you smile and there are no frilly or faux-antique gimmicks, yet.

How to get there: Central Line tube to Chancery Lane station. Walk east along Holborn turning left after a couple of blocks onto Leather Lane. Markets are on weekdays from 10:30 to 2:30.

A good walk: Tube to Chancery Lane, walk up Leather Lane, cross Theobold’s Road and follow Rosebery Avenue north east to its intersection with Farringdon Rd. Cross Farringdon and off to your right is a pedestrian street called Exmouth Market full of shops, cafes and restaurants which is well worth a stroll. Getting back onto Rosebery Avenue continue north as before and turn left when you get to St. John’s Street – this turns into Islington’s famous Upper Street about three minutes later. This amounts to a 25 minute walk through interesting and attractive areas of London you might not otherwise see. Angel Islington’s Upper Street is a busy and trendy shopping and dining district where you can reward yourself with a pint and some lunch. To return home again, catch the tube at Angel Station.


Still In Australia/NZ/SA/Canada?

When to Travel, When to Work? Workable Trip Planning Options

This month: Trip Template number one….

Purchase an around the world ticket – it is excellent value for money. Although it usually only lasts up to one year many working holiday makers will visit Australia at least once during there first year overseas – usually for friends’ weddings or other family events. Even if you don’t actually use the last leg – London back to Aus/NZ - it is still good value.

Consider: Australia/NZ to Canada, then U.S. Central America, South America then Western Europe. Work in the UK for a year, two, three etc and then purchase a one-way London to Australia/NZ ticket with two or three stopovers allowing you to explore Nepal, India, Laos or Vietnam for example. Of course the reverse is a possibility as well. If you do use the return leg within the year, just buy another return to London – you’ll always be returning home to either stay or visit at some point.

Next Month: Trip Template two…

Want to re-fresh your software skills before going over? Find out which skills to focus on: see e-News Issue 3 in the archives.


In Every Issue:

Trip Idea #5: Go north! Discover York

For those Australian's visiting the UK on visas, you cannot NOT visit the North. For too many Aussies, the lure of London and its big money constitutes a "life" in England. Whilst the highlife might appeal to some, I was a little daunted by the chaos of London and quickly felt claustrophobic, hence my escape to the North.

I have settled in the mediaeval city of York, about 4 hours by train from Kings Cross, London. York is a beautiful city enclosed by a sandstone wall complete with five bars or gateways. Accessed in minutes from the railway station, a stroll around the city walls is a must to familiarise yourself with the main attractions. The most dominant of these of course, is York Minster. Rumour has it that the stained glass window in the southern transept is the size of a tennis court. The Minster is also said to be the site of the coronation of Constantine the Great and a roman column has been excavated from below the crypts and now stands behind the Minster.

Stopping for a pint of locally brewed ales at many of York's cosy pubs will take most of the weekend, but just a few stops will get you to the most popular street in York, The Shambles. This narrow cobblestone street once housed butchers shops in mediaeval times and the meat hooks remain in the doorways of looming top-heavy buildings. Careful though, the doorways to the stores along this street are only about 5ft high! By evening, the bars along the River Ouse present a chilled and ambient atmosphere for locals and visitors before heading out to the busier clubs in and around town.

York is also an excellent base for visiting other cities in the North. An hour to north east is Whitby - Captain Cook's birthplace and a must-see for homesick backpackers. The beach is typically English with donkey rides, colourful beach huts and an old pier. The North Yorkshire Moors is an eerie landscape littered with early roman roads and fortresses. Castle ruins in Helmsley and Fountains Abbey, Rievaulx are only half an hour to the north.

The famous White Horse can been seen here too, beneath the cliffs at Sutton Bank where gliders take off on the thermal uplift provided by the amazing chalk formation. For a banging night out, Leeds is only a short train trip away and provides an unsurpassed shopping experience! The Lake District is also easily accessed from York and is equally popular with rock climbers, fell runners and take-it-easy bushwalkers like myself.
So don't get trapped in London for your stay in England.

Hop on a train (only £20 return during March!) or National Express coach and head for York. The accents might be different but the beer is definitely better and the air cleaner. See you soon in York!

Thank you to contributing travel writer:
Kate Groves, Consultant at NHBC Engineering Services, York – Cheers Kate!

Editor’s Note: an evening boat ride along the canals of old York is beautiful, but beware of little Yorkshire rascals. They can sometimes be found peering down from overhead stone bridges and take enormous pleasure in creating their own mini-waterfalls onto passing tourists’ watercraft!! Unfortunately for some, a true story. J


Stuff you might like: Visit the LINK of the Month…... – find out how anything works, really neat.

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.

If you like what you’ve read – send this to a friend!


In the Next Issue: 25th April 2003

  • Negotiating a pay increase – how to effectively and successfully handle this common dilemma
  • More UK Interview Tips
  • More Trip Templates
  • Trip Idea #6 – What great trip experience do you want to share with others? Submit a great trip idea and you could win a bottle of Kiwi white delivered to you if you are the selected contributing travel writer for April. Cheers!

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