Thinking of building your skill set?
Arboriculture is a multi faceted trade that allows the skilled professional the opportunity to work abroad and make good money. Combining travel with this awesome career is definitely worth it. Before hopping on a plane though, there are some important things to consider.
People call these things FAQs or Frequently Asked Questions. Nobody's asked me these questions, but I put them up here anyway
Hostels, plane tickets, bus rides, and shipping are all important to consider
Q: How long is the plane ride?
A: About 24 hours
Q: What does a one way ticket cost?
A: Prices vary. Budget between $1500 and $2000 for your ticket.
Q: Should I bring gear from home?
A: Only if you want to pay to ship it twice. Once to your destination, and then again when you return home. It also means waiting for your gear to arrive at your destination, or asking someone to ship it for you.
Q: Is it cheaper to buy gear in Australia?
A: No, climbing gear is much more expensive in Australia. It cost me about $2500 for a basic climbing and PPE kit, including a Stihl 170 (cheapest on the market).
Q: How good is the Stihl 170?
A: It's a limbing saw. It's adequate for taking down medium sized trees, but will probably hate you for it. Mine smells funny after about 200 hours of solid work.
Knowing what your employer wants is the first step to getting a job and keeping it. It's not worth it to talk yourself up without having the qualifications and experience.
Q: How do I know if I'm getting paid properly?
A: Wage for a climbing arborist can stretch from $20-$35 per hour for a professional working full time with a company. Contractors can earn upwards of $60 an hour but must pay for their own insurance.
Check out the Fairwork Ombudsman if you have issues surrounding your employers integrity.
Q: What are standard working hours in Australia?
A: Standard week is 40 hours with two fifteen minute paid breaks and one half-hour unpaid lunch. Of course anyone who's worked in this industry can tell you that these are simply outlines and are flexible depending on the day and the job being done. If you don't get a break, don't be surprised, many businesses only stop for lunch.
Q: Can I work as a contract arborist under a working holiday (417) VISA?
A: You certainly can as long as you don't exceed the conditions of your VISA.
Working as a contractor is complicated, it's starting your own business. It entails registering for an Australian Business Number, purchasing insurance, invoicing clients, paying your own tax, and charging GST. Like most things in life, you make more money, but you must do more work.
Q: How do my qualifications transfer?
A: If you have completed an apprenticeship and have an Ontario ministry certificate of qualification in Arboriculture (aka Journeyperson class), or are an ISA certified arborist this roughly translates as a Cert 3. This means obtaining a job as a climber is rather easy, though you should be careful who you work with as there a lot of cowboy companies. Do some research and ask around. The industry is small and dishonest or low quality companies get a reputation.
Q: What VISA's are available for qualified arborists?
A: There are two VISA's available, working holiday and skilled migration VISA.
Q: What is the difference between the two.
A: Working holiday VISA is easy to obtain, but is restrictive in the amount of time you can work with any employer.
Q: Where do I get a VISA to work in Australia?
A: Check out the immigration office here
Q: What does it cost to live in Australia?
A: Living in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne isn't necessarily cheap, but is almost on par with most suburbs in Ontario.
A: It's actually an understatement. Coffee in Victoria is about $4 anywhere you go, but it is very good. The quality is much better but you will pay dearly for it.
Q:But seriously, is the coffee really that good?
A:Yes it's that good. The best in the world. Melbourne ships barristas to Italy to train the Italians how to brew coffee. That's how good it is.
Q: Will I have to buy a car?
A: Depends on where you live. Most cities in Australia have great transit systems. Though living in the city and paying for transit means you'll be paying a lot of money and won't have wheels to explore the country. Living in the countryside and driving in isn't always pleasant but having a car is a real advantage on weekends and for weeks when you want to travel.
For specific insights check out these interviews: