When exploring Australia it is a common misconception that the best working opportunities will be in the city. Many people will try making a living in the cities and save the adventure for the outback and rural areas. I’ve caught up with a handful of Brits that have gone to Australia and found well-paid work, some in places that may surprise you.
One popular way of earning an income is by fruit picking. The beauty of this is that it is available all year round and all over Australia. Do not expect any easy days, it is very hard physical work but the rewards are more than worth it. The other advantage of this is that it can help you when claiming your second year visa or trying to obtain sponsorship. It is also a great opportunity to build a network. Over 90% of the people you will be working with will be fellow travellers. These may be able to provide you with information on employment opportunities in other areas of the country or region and, of course, you can trade stories of your experiences. I spoke to Cara who planned to travel down under for six months, three years later and she’s in full time employment, has her own house and loves every minute of it. “I worked in the hostel I was living in for four months, doing bar work 5 days a week. I got free rent (rent was $180 a week) plus $125 a week. Then we went to Bowen and stayed at the Aussie nomads it was for our farm work. It’s really hard to get into these hostels but a friend was already staying there and managed to talk to the owner and got us in. I worked on a capsicum farm for six months too, really demanding work but the pay was more than worth it!” Cara then tried obtaining work that could get her residency or a longer visa. “We moved to Perth I got a PA job through gumtree but only worked there for 3 months as they went bust then I got the job I’m currently in as a party planner/admin and got my residency through that.”
If you are planning on staying in Australia for a longer amount of time, over a year say, you may want to look at the mining and construction industries. Again, it is hard, physical work and mining is done on a three week on, one week off basis. This means if you are travelling with other people you will only see them one week in every month. However, if you are willing to make this sacrifice or are travelling alone then this could be the perfect job for you. The pay is extremely generous; the average you can expect is a staggering $30,000. There are plenty of different companies offering work and working for one of these companies does not necessarily mean you will be working in the mines, it may be office work or working on the premises. I got hold of Jonnie O Sullivan, another new resident of Australia, who works in construction. Jonnie was more than willing to share details of working in the construction industry. “In construction out here most employers put you on an hourly rate. I started on $25 an hour, after one month it went up to $28. After I gained experience and obtained EWP licences (elevated work platform) around 3/4months, which is a licence to operate machinery, they rose my wages another $5 to $33. The company tries to push you to get licences, to operate machinery, as it helps everyone to work better and you get the licence at a reduced cost compared to applying on your own. That would be one of the major perks specially for someone like me that wouldn’t have much experience as I don’t have a trade they’re always willing to give u a fair chance.” A sign of just how many Brits are travelling down under and making real successes of themselves is the background to the company Jonnie works for. “The company I work for at the moment is All Clad Systems. It’s a newly set up company that was set up by two English lads. One of them is 29 and the other is roughly 35-40, he is the brains of the company i.e. does the books and wages! The other lad looks after staff hiring and firing. Its a carpentry company but instead of dealing with wood we deal with aluminium but most workers would be carpenters, just in case you weren’t sure what cladding was, I hadn’t a clue!!” Of course there are negatives and positives to the job, as Jonnie explained. “We work Monday to Friday 6:30 to 5:15 and Saturday 6:30 to 12:30, however, it can be optional Saturday unless under pressure for deadlines etc. Also one perk would be free BBQ and beers every Friday to show appreciation for work, always a good start to weekend. It builds good team morale and makes the work place easier! I suppose a negative can be the long days as some people don’t want to work after three because of the heat and we don’t get overtime on this job. The hourly rate is still high and to be honest the work is piss easy compared to work back in Ireland, UK, where it’s freezing and raining all the time ha! Another negative is that in this job there is about 50 people working in the team. As it’s the Perth arena, a 14000 seater stadium, when coming near the end of the job people can be let go with 1-2weeks notice. Sometimes the company has another job lined up but they might not need 50 lads straight away, it varies, but it’s Australia and there is lots of work if your willing. And I suppose that’s the construction industry everywhere really.”