Have you thought about moving from the UK to work in the higher education sector in Australia?

     
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We collated your questions and queries about relocating to the Australian Higher Education sector and sent them to Professor Karen Strickland and Professor Patrick Crookes, both of whom have already made the move and can offer invaluable advice.

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About this video

Have you thought about moving from the UK to work in the higher education sector in Australia but unsure about the practicalities?

We collated your questions and queries about relocating to the Australian Higher Education sector and sent them to Professor Karen Strickland and Professor Patrick Crookes, both of whom have already made the move and can offer invaluable advice.

Transcript

 

TIME

SPEAKER

AUDIO

00:00.05

Speaker 1

Welcome to this Jobs AC UK recording about working in an Australian university as part of your academic career.  After listening to our audience we discovered a lot of uncertainty surrounding the process for a UK academic to relocate and work in the Australian higher education sector.  We have been collecting your questions and concerns about this and we approached two academics who have gone through the process themselves.  Over the next 30 minutes Karen Strickland and Patrick

00.00.30

Speaker 1

Crooks will answer your questions and share their own experiences about relocating to Australia and we hope you find this information useful.  Over to them.

00:00.40

Karen Strickland

Hello, and welcome to this conversation about relocating from the UK to Australia in higher education.  My name is Professor Karen Strickland, I am a professor of nursing and head of school in the school of nursing, midwifery and public health in the University of Canberra.

00.00.59

Patrick Crooks

Hello, my name is Patrick Crooks, I’m a professor in nursing in the same school.

00.01.05

Karen Strickland

We thought we could just start by telling you a little bit about our own journeys and then address some of the questions that have been posed.  So I moved from Scotland about nine months ago to take up this position as joint clinical chair with the university and ACT Health.  The way this job came about came through head hunters which is quite common

00.01.40

Karen Strickland

in higher education, where they interview you first and screen potential candidates for roles and then I was interviewed via Skype.  That seems to be more common these days, interviewing via Skype rather than flying out, but I did fly out with my family for a visit ahead of taking up the position and that was something that was part funded by the university.

00.02.08

 

MUSIC

00.02.15

Karen Strickland

I think in practical terms some of the questions have been related to visas and again, I’ll share my experience around the type of visa that I am on, but I would recommend that you have a chat with a specialist visa lawyer.  So there were two options when I was relocating here in Australia and the first option was, at the time,

00.02.45

Karen Strickland

a 457 visa which was a temporary visa for four years or an employer nominated permanent residence visa, which takes a bit longer to be granted and go through the system but that’s the visa that I opted for and I’ll tell you why that’s the case.  With the temporary residence visa, in my own research I found out that there were certain restrictions if I came on the

00.03.15

Karen Strickland

temporary residence visa, I have young school aged children and that was one of the biggest factors for me because if you come over on a temporary residence visa then you can be liable for school fees even in the public system but also you might be liable for some medical bills as well.  But as an academic there was another consideration as well, in that when you’re applying for grants, some of the grants even

00.03.45

Karen Strickland

the charitable organisation grants actually require you to be either an Australian citizen or permanent resident, so if I had come over on the 457 temporary residence visa, then it would have restricted the grants that I would be able to apply for.  So in discussion with my employers, we opted for the permanent residence visa, they did send a letter to the

00.04.15

Karen Strickland

immigration department to have that expeditated but it can take several months to go through.  So that was one of the key considerations for me but I would strongly recommend that you talk to a specialist visa lawyer.  Now, I was fortunate, having been offered the position here, the university appointed visa lawyers, they helped me

00.04.45

Karen Strickland

through that process and I think that’s something that you need to clarify quite early on, whether you will be afforded that service by the university or whether you have to source your own visa lawyer. It’s quite a significant benefit to have that facility.

00.05.09

Patrick Crooks

Okay, my story is substantially different because I immigrated to Australia in 1989, so I’ve been in Australia almost 30 years and it wasn’t associated with it directly, my wife and I decided to immigrate soon after we got married but what we found was, at the time we wanted

00.05.39

Patrick Crooks

to apply was the time of the bi-century in 1987, ’88 and it took us probably two years to actually get permission to move out on a permanent residency visa.  So we actually applied and came out to Australia having had our nursing qualifications assessed by the relevant institution over here, that then meant that we immigrated on a skilled migrant visa.

00.06.15

Patrick Crooks

It’s quite clear that the government and the systems here still that as the preferred way for skilled migrants to migrate.  That’s obviously not feasible when you’re in the sort of situation that I assume the vast majority of you are and that Karen found herself in.  So I think Karen’s advice about her experience of applying for a job and then seeking support from the university in terms of visas and all that sort of stuff is very good advice and pertinent

00.06.45

Patrick Crooks

advice.  Something to be aware of though is that in some circumstances the perception in some universities at least is that can be quite long and drawn out and I was recently involved in a recruitment process as an external reviewer, if you like, on a senior appointment to another university, the decision was made quite early on not to shortlist a couple of people from

00.07.15

Patrick Crooks

UK basically because the perception was it would take too long and there was a good chance that, potentially, people wouldn’t be able to get registered and therefore come over here and therefore wouldn’t meet the criteria.  So the decision was not to waste time.  I think that’s particularly case for people who are in disciplines that are governed by the Australian

00.07.45

Patrick Crooks

Health Practitioners Registry Agency or AHPR, which is the umbrella body for health professional registration across Australian and that covers I think 15 professions and they are quite influential in one’s ability to actually migrate using your qualifications and so one of

00.08.15

Patrick Crooks

the things that I would encourage you to do, as well as looking at visa lawyers and migration agents, is to consider if you do have health professional background or perhaps if you have a teaching background, that you look at the relevant web pages for the registering authorities and some of those things are still State level, State teacher education and registration is at a State level but health professional registration is now at a national level for about the last six or seven years.

00.08.48

Patrick Crooks

They have all sorts of regulations about English language competency etcetera, etcetera and the level of qualifications and that can significantly affect one’s ability to migrate.

00.09.01

 

MUSIC

00.09.06

Karen Strickland

I think some of the other things that are a little bit different that I didn’t anticipate and a few people have asked these questions is around some of the terms and conditions.  I had heard about this amusing Aussie work life balance and laid back way of being and it’s actually quite different.  In the UK I was used to seven weeks paid leave a year plus public holidays,

00.09.40

Karen Strickland

and sick leave, should I require it, of six months half pay and six months full pay.  However here it’s a bit different, it tends to be about four weeks paid leave, they call recreational leave but there quite a number of public holidays and even one for the Queen’s birthday which I did find quite strange since we don’t have a public holiday for the Queen’s birthday back in the

00.10.10

Karen Strickland

UK.  But there you go, you get one here in Australia.  The way that any sick pay is accrued so the longer you’re in service, you accrue an entitlement to paid, what they call personal leave, not sick leave and so that’s something to consider, particularly if you have some health conditions but through the Uni Super, which

00.10.45

Karen Strickland

the pension scheme, there are things like income protection, critical illness cover and you’re recommended to take those sorts of things out but again you would need to speak to a specialist to discuss your individual circumstances. 

00.11.05

Patrick Crooks

Can I add something about Super Ann?  One of the things that I think historically was quite significantly different since the mid to late ‘80s was that Australia became a place, at that time, where superannuation was strongly encouraged and now it’s mandatory that one has a superannuation fund.  The Australian, until recently you were forced to be in certain funds if your employer required to be so. That

00.11.37

Patrick Crooks

protection has now been removed and people have much more choice about which Super fund they want to be in but the fund for the vast majority of people in universities out here is called Uni Super.  It’s what’s called an industry fund and therefore the contributions and the funds raised from it are reinvested back into the fund, it’s not a commercial fund so it doesn’t have shareholders.  The implication is that the fund does quite well and I would have to say

00.12.04

Patrick Crooks

compared to my family back in the UK, the sorts of superannuation nest eggs that build up over here in Australia is significantly different and bigger, particularly in funds associated with higher education, professional staff and academics.  In part that is because of the employer contributions on top of the contributions that individuals can make.  So I think that’s a real positive about Australia.  I

00.12.35

Patrick Crooks

think the other thing you find is if you drill down and look at relative salaries, the salaries here are significantly higher, although the last probably four to five years, the cost of living has also gone up compared to the UK, so that eats into some of that.  But the salaries are quite significantly higher here than they are in the UK, I would say, although we have had significant wage freezes here.  I think another

00.13.05

Patrick Crooks

positive thing about salaries in Australia is that I think that it’s quaintly Australia but I love it, in that we get paid every fortnight, so you don’t have those interminable months where there’s five and a half weeks and you’re wondering what’s going to happen for the last four days of it, which is how I found myself with a young family many years ago.

00.13.30

Karen Strickland

Yeah, fortnightly salary is really good and it does mean things like bills, like rent, mortgage, car loans, the whole system is set up that you can pay fortnightly as well, so it’s really quite positive.

00.13.45

Patrick Crooks

That also flows through to homelands and what is the case in homelands are much more affordable because the way the interest is calculated and so people who make fortnightly payments can pay off their 25 years mortgage maybe three, four earlier, it makes that level of difference based on how interest is calculated and paid.

00.14.12

Karen Strickland

While we’re on finances, somebody asked a question about pensions, how it works and transferring pensions.  There was a law passed in the UK a couple of years ago, I checked this out before I moved and you can’t actually, you cannot transfer your UK pension anymore to Australia.  So your pension does get frozen in the UK but you can keep track of that and get annual statements on your pension,. So it’s

00.14.40

Karen Strickland

Just a case of getting in touch with your pensions office and having a discussion about that.

00.14.50

Patrick Crooks

That’s about personal pension, isn’t it?

00.14.52

Karen Strickland

No, that was the Scottish Teacher’s Pension that I was in.

00.14.57

Patrick Crooks

That’s what I mean, that was in your superannuation fund, in terms of the old age pension, one of the other things that pensioners, people who are pensioners complain about, particularly those who are older or who come over to Australia once they’ve retired, is that the British government has a policy that for certain countries, Australia is one of them, when you leave, whatever your pension would have been, or is, on the day that you leave, that’s what you get for whenever you

00.15.30

Patrick Crooks

live in Australia and Canada and South Africa.  There are other countries where it goes up like it would do if you were a pensioner in the UK.  That is something to be aware of because over time you will find, if you’ve made significant contributions to the age pension through a national insurance scheme, you don’t receive that.  In Australia it is based on a means test and good old Australian tax office, tax payer,

00.16.00

Patrick Crooks

They actually make up the age pension for people who are in that situation.

00.16.05

 

MUSIC

00.16.10

Patrick Crooks

Because of the very heavy emphasis that’s been in Australian universities for the past seven or eight years since we introduced the equivalent of the REF in the UK, we introduced it in Australia called Excellence in Research Australia, so you will hear and see things related to ERA.  That’s the exercise that the government uses to look at research excellence, interestingly it has nothing to do with funding but we all go through it.  that mean that most

00.16.41

Patrick Crooks

universities when they are recruiting actively and they start to look overseas, they tend to be looking for people who are research active and who will enhance the research quantum in the institution in the discipline which they are,  I would suggest that the alternatives to that are in some disciplines related to health because it’s becoming more and more difficult to recruit academics in those areas.  Not least because

00.17.10

Patrick Crooks

people as they progress tend to see doing research is the way to achieve higher and achieve more status, therefore it is more difficult to persuade people to be involved in teaching and administration.  In areas like, for example, nursing, to a lesser extent midwifery, paramedicine for example, there is really quite a shortage of experienced people and therefore

00.17.42

Patrick Crooks

I would suggest that there would be more chance of getting a job than if you had an arts background.  I’m very sensitive to that because daughter has just graduated with a PhD in English literature.  That is associated in part with the fact that over the last probably ten years a quite significant issue that’s arisen in Australian universities is the level of casualisation amongst academics and in certain

00.18.10

Patrick Crooks

disciplines, in terms of teaching for example, 50 or 60% of teaching in a given discipline may well be done by casual, part time teachers.  So people either on a weekly contract or people who are contracted for a semester.  Some of those may be post grad but some of them are people who that’s how they earn their living and it’s quite a precipitous situation.  That has an impact on the number of jobs that will be

00.18.40

Patrick Crooks

advertised in certain disciplines because there’s a fairly large group of people waiting for those positions to come up, if they come up.  I would also say that there is a significant emphasis on STEM and a real area of workforce shortage is in experienced teachers to teach STEM in schools and therefore if you an educator who educates people to teach STEM, so you’re

00.19.10

Patrick Crooks

A teacher educator in those areas, I would suggest that there would be a number of universities looking for experienced people with that sort of background.

00.19.18

 

MUSIC

00.19.23

Karen Strickland

I was just going through the list here and one of things is interview norms and quirks and even before that, CVs are a bit different here than I have experience in the UK and I did a lot of recruitment in the UK in my previous post as well.  CV was pretty factual and pretty concise but here in Australia there is much more of a tendency for a very full CV, so under each job or even sub sections within your job, so it might

00.20.00

Karen Strickland

be research, teaching and consultancy for example, it’s expected for you to draw out some of the key responsibilities and key achievements under those areas.  So that they get a real flavour of your experience and your level of skill and competency.  Some of the universities are moving away from fuller applications as well, so this full CV is a way of

00.20.30

Karen Strickland

getting over what you’ve done and what contribution you can make as well.  So I was quite surprised at the level of detail and the recruitment company that I was working with were actually really good at telling me that you need a little bit more in here and also my colleague who was working over here in Australia suggested to me that I needed to put more of that information in because I was much

00.21.00

Karen Strickland

more used to seeing these very factual, concise CVs in the UK.  And certainly through the recruitment that I’ve done here, it’s not uncommon to see a 30 page, or more sometimes, CV and that would just be a complete no no in the UK.

00.21.22

Patrick Crooks

I agree and I wouldn’t encourage 30 pages I think you should eb including highlights but some people feel the need to vomit content into the CV.  An added point to what Karen just said is it’s very much the tendency in Australia to advertise and to put key criteria and what you really need to getting adept at is answering those key criteria, perhaps cross referencing

00.21.52

Patrick Crooks

to certain examples of things that are in the broader more detailed CV.  But really keeping it down to two to three pages with short, sharp statements about how you believe you meet each of the criteria because Australia is a very popular place for people to apply to and there are actually a lot of time wasters and so the

00.22.20

Patrick Crooks

shortlisting groups are looking for ways to say well in the first cut, who are the people ,we can definitely exclude and if you haven’t appeared to bother to make any sort of attempt to briefly give an indication of how you believe you meet the criteria, one of the criteria will be for initial rejection will be this person didn’t deal with selection criteria and that’s a bigger issue than

00.22.52

Patrick Crooks

having CV that’s got superfluous information in it because people will look through that and then go looking for those things in your CV.  I found that particularly from America and Canada, less so from the UK, that from America and Canada it’s not unusual for people to just send their CV and they expect the panel to figure it out and most panels here will say nah, I can’t be bothered, unless you’ve got a Nobel Prize or something.

00.23.27

Karen Strickland

I suppose looking at the interview, a Skype interview is quite different to being interviewed in person and certainly I was interviewed via Skype for this job and I’ve done quite a number of interviews as I’m sure you’ve done via Skype for people.  But very basic things like make sure that you’re not disturbed, I dress myself as the way I would if I was being interviewed in person as well because it was

00.24.00

Karen Strickland

an interview.  Make sure that your dog is locked away, I recently interviewed someone whose dog jumped up and started licking tehri face, it was okay but its’ much better for you as the candidate if you are undisturbed and are quite relaxed and focused on the interview.  And take the time to work with the, it’s usually an administrator that will set up your interview appointment, so ask for a check of the technology to be sure that your Skype

00.24.30

Karen Strickland

Connection is going to work with the interviewer’s and that’s usually offered ahead of time of the interview, so do take that opportunity.

00.24.47

Patrick Crooks

I think we’ve, through our conversation, I think we’ve come to the end of the questions that we received, we’re quite happy to receive any follow up questions through the agency, aren’t we?  And it may be that when we look back through these questions, we may identify some other points, we also have a colleague in our HR department who we will probably record subsequently because she has a few points to

00.25.23

Patrick Crooks

make from an HR perspective that may answer these questions in slightly more detail.  Hopefully what we’ve been talking about you’ll find helpful and useful and we wish you all the best for your aspirations in your career and your aspirations to come and be an academic in Australia, it’s the best country on earth.

00.25.47

Karen Strickland

Yeah, I would agree.

00.25.50

 

MUSIC

00.25.55

Speaker 1

We hope you found this video helpful and that it answered the majority of your questions, if there is anything else that you’re unsure about please send your questions to, WegMarketing@warwick.ac.uk.  We will be organising a follow up Twitter live session about this so please do follow us on social media for the latest information.  We wish you all the best with your relocation plans.

00.26.14

 

MUSIC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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