09 September 2009

Students to ride out recession in Australia

Recession-forced gap year to focus ambition, raise experience

Once seen as just a sunny year-long hiatus, the Australian working holiday is now looked upon as a year where a gapper can develop valuable industry skills and make their CV stand out from the crowd.
Around 835,000 18- to 24-year-olds are currently out of work and education, grim statistics many students are escaping by riding out the recession on an Australian Working Holiday Visa.


An Australian Working Holiday Visa means young people have the chance to travel, gaining new skills and experiences to polish the CV for when they return to the UK jobs market or to attack the UCAS process with renewed vigour for 2010 university entry.


“Most school leavers, if they have not been able to secure a university place or employment, are facing a very tough situation in the UK,” said Australian Visa Bureau Director Guy Bradley.


“The good news is an overseas gap year is a chance to stand out from the crowd.”
“The Australian Working Holiday Visa is a prime example of how you can test out different industries, gain valuable work experience and international knowledge that can further your employability, as well as allow you to have fun,” Mr Bradley said.


Jack Lawrence, 18, from Hatfield, England, has just finished his A levels and is taking a break in Australia before returning to take up a place in a Bachelor of Sport and Adventure Recreation at the University of Bedfordshire in September 2010.


Jack has just recently been approved for an Australian Working Holiday Visa and will leave for Australia in January where he hopes to try a lot of different jobs, some relevant to his future university degree and others, like fruit picking, just for the experience.    


“The idea of travelling to another country and sampling their way of life, culture and jobs really appealed to me, and I also liked the idea of being independent.


“Most of all I just wanted a bit of time. To take some quality time to find out about myself.”


“Obviously at the moment there are not that many opportunities in the UK, although I do have a job and that is how I could save for the working holiday. I am hoping by the time I get back from my gap year and finish university things will be improved,” he said.
Australia is the most popular gap year destination for young Britons, partly because of the outdoor lifestyle and sunny weather but also because the Australian Working Holiday Visa allows young people between the ages of 18 and 30 the chance to work to fund their stay in Australia for up to 24 months.


Australia has also been less affected by the global economic slowdown; indeed it has posted positive economic growth figures since the beginning of the year and a strong Australian dollar. 


The basic requirements for an Australian Working Holiday Visa is that applicants must be between 18 and 30 years old, with a valid passport with at least one year until renewal, and enough funds to support themselves for an initial period when they arrive in Australia.  


There is also a health and character requirement, as applicants must not have any substantial criminal convictions or substantial medical issues.


The Australian Government will also allow Working Holiday Visa holders the opportunity to apply for a second Working Holiday Visa and extend their stay in Australia to 24 months, provided they have worked as a specified worker in regional Australia for three months, for example in plant or animal cultivation.


Young people can take a free online assessment to determine their eligibility for the Australian Working Holiday Visa by visiting the online working holiday application or the Australian Visa Bureau website.

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