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Thread: Looking for urban design jobs

  1. #1
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    Looking for urban design jobs

    I'm currently working as an assistant Urban Designer in a city in the UK and have had a move to Oz on my mind for a number of years.

    My plan at the moment is to do a year on a temporary working holiday visa
    with up to 4 months travelling and then spend the remainder of the year looking for a temporary job.

    Basically I would like to gain a bit of experience for a couple of months before making up my mind about whether I would like to a more permanent move in the future.

    By the time I plan to be in Oz (in about 6 months) I will have gained a year's experience as an Urban Designer to add to a previous year of planning policy experience.

    I would be extremely grateful therefore for any information, tips etc that would help me to fulfil this goal.

    Ps. If it transpires that there isn't a very realistic chance of this happening I would be grateful for any information that would aid me in getting a fake Australian passport! : P

  2. #2
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    By the way I realise that I am being vague about the information I'm asking for, but that is in the hope that anyone who feels that they have something worthwhile to add will feel free to post it here over the next few months.

    Thanks people.

  3. #3
         
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    Character Counts

    Well I must say that you are quite a character by your writing...particularly when addressing others simply as 'people'. Very personable!

    With that being said, just come on holiday and check out Australia. During your travels, you will have plenty of opportunities to visit communities and meet 'people'. As you are associated with urban design, you might find yourself picking up a position in one of the major cities.

    Best wishes,

    Siskiyou

  4. #4
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    Thanks Siskiyou,

    Urban Design is my passion so any information related particularly to this is especially welcome. Perhaps I was being too vague before!

    Apologies If I came across as a tad cheeky, no offence intended to anyone.

  5. #5
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    There are opportunities to get sponsored but it may be better to arrange for this beforehand. I've heard of people finding a job but not sponsorship, having to leave Australia, waiting 3 months, getting back in Australia and they are way out of pocket at the end of the whole process.

    There are employers who operate between England, Dubai, South Africa and Australia etc., - you might get recommended through them to a position in a local office if you can stack your domino's right.

    Perhaps speak to a placement agency such as http://www.bbtworldwide.com/ in england and see what they recommend.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Hi Huw,

    A working holiday visa is a great way to start. However if you can sort it out and are that committed try and get PR because it is very difficult to land a role in Oz without it, especially during the these hard economic times. It definately isnt impossible, but you will need to be that much better.

    Urban design is great and Im glad your passionate about it. Pure planning firms dont really employ urban designers in Oz, but architecturally based companies do. These architectural firms are VERY sensitive to economic conditions. A large company called Hassell and Conics have currently made many planners/designers redundant due to the focus of their work. Even engineering giant GHD is laying people off at the moment. Councils are a great way to learn the system here in Oz, however many are in financial turmoil and even though they need planners, they are not hiring them at the moment.

    Atm several Irish and UK backpackers are flooding Oz looking for work, but are having a hard time finding anything due to the economic climate. Check out www.gumtree.com.au to place an ad or you could even search the consultants directory on the PIA website and cold call for roles. Good luck

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Woolley's avatar
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    Have you attempted to contact VDM Burchill? They are major heavy hitters in the Gold Coast region.

    Do not get me started on GHD. Their site analysis's are something is left to be desired.

    http://www.vdmgroup.com.au/default.aspx?MenuID=66

    This is where I want my first planning job. They are a great bunch of professionals that are highly diversified and I am lucky to know a few of them.

    But with many firms in Oz, they would prefer someone in the long term. Keep in mind you are on a working holiday Visa and are only able to work a set number of hours a week. I would spend most of my time visiting this lovely country, backpacking.

    PEGS

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the advice guys, looks like there are a few options to explore so i'll follow these and see where they take me.

    I didn't realise that the Oz job market had begun to slow so much so maybe i'll have to make a few compromises along the way. Oh the joys of a global recession!

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Slow is an understatement. Even the regional Victoria council jobs (which are pay about the same rate as Maccas) are being overfilled with job applications. Keep in mind Australia is one of the most expensive countries for housing as well. Having worked in the UK, US and Oz, planning is still very unknown in Oz. But its a great place to live otherwise.

    My mates who still work in councils are feeling the heat as well, need to do a lot more with less staff cause councils in Oz are broke.

    Also in NSW, the Premier Nathan Rees is doing away with planning regulations in order to get projects up and running. Whilst the private sector planners continue to get made redundant.

    If I were you Id stay in the UK for a bit. At least Gordon Brown has a plan other than giving $900 to residents to drink and gamble away.

    Queensland if anyone will be the 1st to have more planning jobs and are actually open to the North American style of planning such as TODs and New Urbanism concepts(as well as WA). I would suggest getting touch with their PIA chapter as they are the most up to date. NSW and Vic prefer the old "by the book" planners and it shows with the delays and decaying infrastructure.

    During times like these its good to get knowledge in other related areas such as project management. Examine some of the planning websites (except PIA which is 20 years behind) and expand on the concepts of these projects. Good luck through these tough times.

  10. #10
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    I have just read through the discussion regarding urban design positions in Australia. I am nearing the end of my masters in U.D and have been sourcing all info on finding work as a gradute urban designer in Oz.

    As I believed urban planners to be of a critical shortage, I was hoping I could find a wider gap in the market for urban designers.

    As has been mentioned there is obviously a huge economic downturn over the pond also (which I thought hadn't been as affected as the UK).

    I am at abit of a loss as to the best course of action to take especially in these more difficult times

    As any experience within U.D is good experience, would I be better to try to get work experience in the UK, then persue my plans of a career in Oz at a later time? Or as I do have a friend who lives in Brisbane, there is the option of me staying with her whilst sourcing work when I am there. I could apply for a visa before I go (as many positions I have seen require you to have the right to work in Oz)

    Any advice would be very much appreciated.

  11. #11

    urban design...here!!

    Hey guys, i'm an urban designer in Oz right now and its proving really difficult to get anything. I was in touch with two recruitment consultants before i came but they are being....dare i say...work shy with me now i'm here!! Now i'm being told that the local authorities here want planners with oz work experience and not UK and ofcourse all the big private firms seem to have sacked everyone. Add to this the cost of living here which is about the same as the UK and i'm beginning to have problems. I was looking to get work here then move on but i'm going to have to end up working in an ice cream parlour or be one of those annoying people canvassing on the streets at this rate!!! Typical! So my advice....well either wait for things to recover, or come here for a trip and if on a budget dont stay too long, or failing that try to get a sponsered secured role before you come.....Good luck

  12. #12
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    Take the ice cream parlour job. Canvassing the street stinks.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    Urban Design roles in Oz= "Autocad Monkey", You probably want a Master planner role I assume or Landscape Architecture.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    A former colleague of mine informed me that Urbis JHD in Sydney has an opening for a Senior Urban Designer position. Urbis does good planning work,but has in the last couple of years expanded into urban design.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Woolley's avatar
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    virtual reality for urban infrastructure and city design

    I was told about this company by my mentor in the Council.

    Do you think the community are becoming more visually aware?
    Is the industry likely to expand and be a strong potential job market? and;
    Is traditional 2D drawings taking a back seat?

    Check out some of the pics and visualisation

    http://www.circus3d.com/
    Last edited by Woolley; 29 Sep 2009 at 3:32 PM. Reason: bad grammer looks like a pass to mee hehe :) I need sleep uni has messed up my biological clock, oh i am still going, ranting

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
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    The community is easily impressed with Graphics or animations as nost people dont want to read or try to understand a plan.Hell they even pay a person like me to read it for them and summarise how it might affect them. I thought that was a "Sims" game commercial. Nicely done!

    I think the industry will eventually pick up in a couple years. Lots of people including myself have moved away from traditional planning roles and into closely related fields such as real estate development, environmental etc. Some multi national planning and development firms are also interested in expanding into the australian market. I really think infrastructure/transport planning is the way to go as these jobs arent hit as hard in a recession. Too many smaller design based firms cant handle any hiccup in the economy in OZ.

    If 3D animators, designers etc were truly successful they would be all millionaires. Sure it may look sexy, but realise many many hours were spent on that design. Architecture may look glamorous, but if you look at the offices at the paychecks of these firms it tells a much different story.. If design is your passion and dont mind getting an average wage for 70 plus hours a week then go for it.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Woolley's avatar
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    The Guy that actually runs it in Brisbane is a Planner, go figure planners are everywhere

  18. #18
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    A somber experience of working in Australia

    I think i can give you a good insight in the realities of obtaining urban design work in Australia. I am a qualified urban designer and had 2years professional experience at the time. I left in Nov 2008 and returned in August 2009. In my whole time of searching constantly I only managed to obtain one informal interview. I was told i had to be contacted but was held of and held of until i eventually gave up on it.
    Australians tend to be sometimes very laid back when it comes to the recruitment process, you should consider yourself luck if you get a reply to an email at all!! in my time there i struggled to get any form of work what-so-ever, such was the competition for jobs, perhaps the situation might be slightly different now. My advice is if you are currently in work and want to visit Australia, don't go over on a working holiday because you will struggle to find work and any work you find will be low paid and often not very enjoyable. Earn your money before hand and go on a 3month holiday where you don't have to worry about work. You will come back with a much greater appreciation for the country. If you want to work professionally ensure that you have something set up before hand. Recruitment people in Australia will tell you it is better being there to look for work but this is bulls***t. The Aussie government are still encouraging people to go to OZ with the impression that there is an abundance of work.. the truth is there isn't an abundance and the Aussie government refuse to discourage people since visitors will still spend money in the country and therefore can only benefit the economy. I had very well qualified friends sleeping on park benches...i myself would have been the same only i was lucky enough to get a job cleaning the kitchen in the hostel to pay my keep. This is just my experience however, but still, i wouldn't want anyone else to suffer the same fate.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian
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    Couldnt agree more with BG83. Recruiters are dogs and will only look after their commission. If you are from overseas, dont move to Oz unless you have a job lined up or a Permanent Visa. The industry is like a puppy, you have to rub their noses in it to until they realise what they are doing wrong. If they want to close borders to foreign planner/designers, lower pay it will only hurt them in the long run. PIA doesnt care, but will whinge when the planner shortage comes up again. Who wants to work for slave wages with slave conditions? Australia is a great place, but the design field is extremely low paying and long hours.

  20. #20
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    findinggg joooooooooooob

    I have a bachelor degree in architecture and a master degree in urban design. I am living in Brisbane at the moment with permanent residency visa. It's about 2 months that I have started applying for an urban design job and I have had 2 interviews with city council but I was the second person in both of them just because I don't have local work experience( I have 5 years overseas experience). So permanent residency won't help you to find a job in Australia, I even have QLD's sponsorship.

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