What can I do abroad?
There are hundreds of opportunities for you to study and work abroad, be it as part of a gap year before heading to university, starting out with paid permanent employment in a new life in another country or gaining experience to better yourself in your current job in the UK. The benefit of doing an apprenticeship is that you will learn a trade or skill that can be transferable and often desirable in different countries across the world, allowing you to move from country to country whilst securing paid work.
Where can I go?
There are opportunities all over the world for internships and apprenticeships and you shouldn’t be put off from going where you desire, however both American and Australia are very popular options for many reasons, firstly they are both large providing numerous opportunities and both are well-developed countries which are English speaking. Both require trades and skills from overseas, and America, in particular, has a large construction industry which is a field that many apprentices in the UK work within.
America is a great option to undertake paid work abroad. Due to its size and English speaking nature, there are hundreds of opportunities to explore in every sector of employment. The country has the most advanced media in the world and also has huge exports of machinery, vehicles, aircraft, oil, electronics and medical equipment, meaning there really is something for everyone! They also have a lot of smaller businesses as well as the large companies.
The only slight negative in applying to a job in America is the strict visa laws but there are plenty of people to help you navigate your way around applying for a visa should you get to that stage. For a job vacancy you will also be expected to already hold the right to work in the USA when applying for jobs, so make sure you have done your research and applied for a visa before seriously searching and applying, you can use online job searches to apply or use a university careers service. Getting sponsorship from a company is very rare, and will only usually happen if you are transferring from a UK branch of the same company. If you are applying for a job in a particular skill you may be eligible for the H brand of visas, these limited visas are usually completed by an employer rather than an individual.
If you want to apply for an internship or work experience, you can apply for a J-1 visa, this allows you to temporarily work for up to a year in most cases, although for some trainee programmes, up to 18 months. This visa option is perfect for those wanting to do a short stint in The States and you don’t have to have the visa before applying, as some companies will make these arrangements for you.
For those wanting to volunteer in an unpaid role, the B-1 visa is the one for you. There are specific conditions, so definitely check these before applying but is perfect if you plan to undertake charity or religious work.
Australia offers a good apprenticeship programme similar to that of the UK. They often require people from overseas to work in particular trades, so this could be a good place to start your apprenticeship hunt. You can start an Australian apprenticeship as a school leaver, after college or even as an adult wanting a change in career or boost your experience in your current work. As in the UK, your apprenticeship will be paid and will be a combination of on the job and school-based learning. Your Australian apprenticeship will be regarded nationally and can be taken overseas, perfect if you plan to do a short break in Australia and then come back to the UK to continue work or study or if you’re planning a permanent move. There are plenty of websites online that allow you to search for Australian apprenticeship, but be aware, just like the American requirements, most will want you to already have the right to work in Australia via a successful visa application.
Will I get paid?
There are numerous volunteer internships across the globe, but it is also possible to secure a paid job or apprenticeship. It may be that you need the money to fund your trip and lifestyle or that you just want to get experience of working in another country. Payment or salary will be explained in the job or internship specification whilst you apply. If you are unsure about any of the specifics, it is always worth checking during an interview. There’s nothing worse than expecting payment and misunderstanding or finding hidden costs.
Do my qualifications count?
Most companies will be able to recognise your UK qualifications, however, it is a good idea to read up on the qualifications awarded in the country you plan to work in so that you are able to explain the level of education you have. You should also find out if your degree will be accepted in the particular country.
How do I apply for an apprenticeship abroad?
It can seem very daunting to apply for an apprenticeship, internship or work abroad but luckily there are numerous companies set up to help people in this exact position. You should start your search by talking to a college or university careers service who will be able to show you correct websites to search through if applying for a permanent job. For internships and volunteering, there are dozens of world recognised charities and programmes.
Before applying for an apprenticeship or work abroad it is worth checking out what the visa requirements are for that specific country. Some countries are harder to get a visa for than others, some can be expensive or require health checks or vaccinations which could end up becoming very expensive. By researching this in advance you will know exactly what is expected on applying. You are then able to ask the company if they are able to pay for or make a contribution towards any of the required checks or whether it will be entirely paid for by you.
Will I be able to come home during my apprenticeship?
You should check directly with the company to see how long your apprenticeship or work may be. If it is a permanent position, or even if it isn’t, you should see how much holiday you are entitled to and how flexible their holiday is. If it is a longer or permanent job or apprenticeship, it is also worth finding out if you get any return flights home paid for.
What experience will I gain?
Sometimes it’s hard to know what the right step is to better a career or improve skills. Working abroad is a great addition to any CV. Although some people may think that working abroad is the equivalent of taking a break in a career or putting it on hold, it can actually hugely benefit your CV and future job prospects. Having this experience on a CV shows potential employers that you are willing to place yourself out of your comfort zone. It will also look great on your personal statement if you do apply to go university after your apprenticeship, should you need any help, use our personal statement editor to guide you through the process. Moving abroad is a big step for anyone and it shows that you learn quickly and can adapt to numerous situations. Depending on the job and the country, you may have picked up a new language, this is thought of very highly when applying for any job at any stage of your life.
Paid internships abroad
Another option to working abroad is a paid internship. There are hundreds of paid internships dotted all over the globe. This gives you a fixed amount of time that you will be away for and often the company that you are going with will be able to support you when applying for a visa and whilst you are working for them abroad. This is a good option to have a taste of a different country and the challenges and opportunities you might come across without committing to a permanent role.
Erasmus is a programme run by higher education facilities to undergo a year of study in a European country. Fully supported by the education system, it allows you to experience a fixed period of time in study or work. Most of the hard work will be organised for you and you won’t be too far away from home, so again, this is a great option for those who want to give it a try!
Is this the right step for me?
Working abroad is definitely something to consider carefully. If you are a home bird and struggle with a weekend away from the family, living and working abroad might not be for you, no matter how exciting the job. It is, however, always a good idea to challenge yourself, so if you’re on the fence, find out how easy it is to come home should you change your mind.
For those looking for adventure, working abroad could be a great idea, you will be able to see parts of the world without the stress of having no money, whilst gaining skills and experience that will be favourable to an employer back home. Carefully consider all of your options and research into locations and available jobs before making up your mind. It is always worth talking to a school or college careers adviser and even having a chat with the people who know you the best, friends and family. No matter what your experience abroad may be, it will more often that not be beneficial to all aspects of your life!