We chat to a British carpenter working in Australia to see what it’s like working in a trade Down Under.

Roy Steman

So, what is it you do exactly?
I am a first fix carpenter so I work on new houses.

First fix? What does that mean?
It pretty much means the first parts of building a new house. Once the foundation is laid then we come in and put up the timber framing to give the house a shape then the plumbers and electricians come and put wiring and plumbing in and then it’s pretty much onto second fix.

I see… So, why Australia?
I’ve always been keen to come here and my mates had said there was a lot of work going so I thought, why the hell not.

Where have you worked?
I’ve been to lots of different suburbs of Melbourne and also a bit of Sydney. I’m keen to get involved in the mining stuff over in Western Australia so I might look into that later.

How does work here differ to working at home?
Well it’s no surprise to say that the weather is better and you get a better tan. We have to down tools when it rains obviously but there’s less interruptions because the weather is better. I find the bosses are less harsh on you too when you muck up here.

How much do you earn?
It’s hard to tell you an exact figure as different jobs pay differently but on average I earn about 60 grand a year, before tax that is. Damn tax!

Why would you recommend working in Australia to someone at home?
Well for one, the weather. It’s warmer for so much longer and when you work outside that is a big deal. It’s also a good work/life balance and we get through jobs pretty quickly but are quite good at it as well. I’ve found Australian businesses to be pretty professional.

November 8th, 2010