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An Electrician in Oz

An Electrician in Oz

So here we are 4 months down the line, and what an experience it has all been. It feels like we are the only english family who didn’t emigrate to Brisbane, Perth or the Mornington Penninsula! I’m sure that is not true but it sure feels like it. We moved to Anglesea on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. It was for a total life change. English life was full of indoor activities for the kids and meant Richard working a 14 hour day, 6 days a week.

So here we are 4 months down the line, and what an experience it has all been. It feels like we are the only english family who didn’t emigrate to Brisbane, Perth or the Mornington Penninsula! I’m sure that is not true but it sure feels like it. We moved to Anglesea on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. It was for a total life change. English life was full of indoor activities for the kids and meant Richard working a 14 hour day, 6 days a week.

Having never been to Australia before, we picked Anglesea out of pure luck and have never regretted it.

Our home for the first 3 weeks was on the Big 4 caravan park. They were amazing people who made us feel so welcome. We used those 3 weeks to find rented accommodation, which turned out not to be as easy as anticipated because it was the start of the tourist season and many places had already been let. In the end we luckily found a place and although it was a complete mess it’s nothing that a bit of elbow grease and paint couldn’t fix.

Richard is an electrician by trade and applying for his "licence to trade"  is where all the trouble started! Boy were we unprepared for the saga that follows!

In England we had all his qualifications transferred over to Australian recognised qualifications. Then on arrival, we did nothing about his work for the first month, just concentrated on settling in. We then inquired about how we would obtain his licence. Richard was self employed, running his own successful business in England, but here that means nothing! Here, he has to prove he is an electrician and doing so meant going through the following process:

First he needs to get a TRA certificate. We foolishly thought that the one we got in England whilst going through the emigration fiasco was the one they need. It’s not! This TRA certificate we were told is for emigration purposes only and can not be used again! So we needed to apply for another one exactly the same, with exactly the same information, i.e. references etc.  We thought this was stupid as we had already done it all so we got onto our local MP, who was just brilliant and got his secretary to look into it for us. Unfortunately, although he thought it was stupid himself, he said there was nothing he could do about it. 6 more weeks passed while we wrote to people in England begging them to send us new references. We also stupidly left all Richard’s tax books from his business at his mums house thinking we would not need them. Eventually his mum posted them to us, as we needed to prove that he had been self employed. Finally we filled out the forms and sent them all off.  The man we spoke to at the TRA office told us not to hold our breath as the committee only meet up once a month to view all applications for TRA certificates…..and we had just missed a meeting!!!! So we are currently waiting for that meeting to happen.

Once we get the TRA certificate we can then apply for a Class E licence which would mean Richard can work as a qualified electrician for another company. To be self employed, in other words to get his Class A licence, we have been told he needs to complete a 4 month college course with exam. AAagh!!

{mosbanner right}Just as well we had savings otherwise we would be stuffed. Luckily, in the mean time,  Richard has been working as a "labourer" for an electrician on labourers wages, which is at least something.  Every building site he has been onto people have said that they are desperate for electricians and that he should have no trouble finding work….once he gets his licence!!

All in all, we know that by the end of this year everything will be sorted. We came out here expecting the first 12 months to be difficult and because of that attitude none of this has been stressful. Richard’s working day is Mon – Fri  7:30 to 4pm,  then he goes surfing! Not bad eh! It all comes out in the wash, eventually.

What have I learned from all of this?  That there are things you have no control over or didn’t anticipate. So instead of stressing about it or beating myself up for not having done better research, I just adopted the attitude of, "Oh well, we’ll get there."  Would I go back to england?  No way! Life here is brilliant. I walk the dog on the beach every night, I body surf with the kids and we do lots of outdoor activities together.

The biggest thing we are learning is to be as laid back as the Aussies. No more English tight, stressed, stiff upper lip for me. We just go with the flow. Perfect.