Continuing our exploration of non US-based work abroad organizations, this week we spotlight The Working Holiday Club (TWHC). There are so many reasons that I like this organization (many of which I will get to a bit later), but the first is that nothing sounds quite as appealing as a “working holiday” – to my American ears, anyway.
The Working Holiday Club is a UK and Australia-based work placement agency for people looking to work abroad in the US, Canada, UK or Australia. The organization arranges work permits, job interviews, and places a large number of its workers in resort and hospitality jobs.
Instead of the usual who, what, where, when format of the organization spotlight posts, this week I’m just going to tell you what I like (and what I think you’ll like, too) about The Working Holiday Club:
- Over 30s! It is extremely rare for a work or volunteer abroad organization to actively market to the over 30 set – the fact is that most people who look for temporary work abroad are in their early to mid-twenties, with many people over 65 beginning to jump on the trend as well. I love that TWHC acknowledges that there are many people who might decide that they want to get winter job in Canada at age 32, but can’t get a visa as easily as their younger counterparts. WHC does the leg work, helping the over 30s secure a one-year open visa and hosting jobs at Vancouver and Whistler. These winter ski resort job opportunities seem like a lot of fun, but you should be ready to pay close to $6,000 for tuition for a year’s worth of support and visa assistance.
- Live-in Pub Jobs! Maybe this is just a personal thing, but I can’t think of anything that sounds cooler than working and living in a pub in the English countryside – and that’s an option (for Australians and New Zealanders) through WHC. They find you a job, help you with your visa, and get you there from London. Of course, you still have to pay the placement fee (about $600), but think of all of the tips you’ll make as a foreigner!
- Focus on visas. So maybe I’m a little obsessed with the whole visa thing. But in my experience, visa problems are where things go from fun adventure to scary challenge. So I’m totally digging TWHC’s focus on the types of visas, and very clear explanations of what kind of visas allow you to do what kinds of jobs (and the aforementioned assistance in obtaining a visa for the 30+ crowd). There are loads of organizations that will help you get a visa and find work, but TWHC truly lays it all out there so that you can consider all of your options.
And to maintain some of my journalistic integrity, I will also talk about a few of the things I don’t like. This is also the part where I disclose that I have no personal knowledge/relationship with TWHC, and my information comes from their website, and some Internet investigating.
- Refund policy. I saw something a little troubling on the FAQ page for USA jobs. Specifically, it implies that if you are offered a job that you do not want to accept, you forfeit your program fee. Considering that the positions themselves are pretty straightforward, and the interviews are conducted in-person in Australia, I feel like most people will be able to find a position that suits them. Also, I understand that the bulk of any program fee is likely used for the human resources that go into the placement process. But I think it would be better if this information was a bit more prominent on the site.
- Many program names. I don’t mean to imply that variety is a bad thing. It’s the spice of life (I know I’ve used that line before). However, I will admit that the TWHC website confused me. This could just be me, and every other person on the planet could marvel at how easy it is to navigate. But what I love best about really good work abroad websites is the ability to see what all of your choices are at a glance. You can browse TWHC’s website by country, but once you are there, the programs are organized by program name – which just aren’t the most descriptive. One a positive note, I love that they have employer profiles on the program pages!
So my overall impression is pretty good. I did some Internet lurking to find out what the people are saying, and as will any work abroad experience, the reviews are mixed. This is to be expected, and you shouldn’t doubt the suitability of any placement organization based on one or two negative reviews. One reviewer mentioned that they thought it was a red flag that there was no physical address listed on the website (just phone numbers) but I disagree – phone numbers are a pretty good sign (as long as someone answers them!).