In the first of a new monthly series, Robert Smith of recruitment consultant Hays Montrose answers your career queries.
Q I am a 23-year-old engineering graduate and I would like to do some work in Australia. How do I go about it? What documentation do I need?

A If you are considering working in Australia, you first need to apply for a visa. The working holiday visa, which is valid for 12 months, has been designed to enable you to support your travels by working for short periods. To apply for a visa contact the Australian High Commission, which has offices in London, Dublin and Manchester.

To be eligible for a visa you must be aged 18-30 at the time of your application, have no dependent children and have not previously entered Australia on a working holiday visa. You must also show that your main reason for coming to Australia is to holiday (any work should be incidental to supplement funds); that you will not undertake studies or training for more than three months; and that you will leave Australia at the end of your authorised stay. It is essential that you are able to prove, with evidence such as a bank statement, that you have sufficient funds for a return or onward fare.

Under the work conditions that apply to the visa, you are not permitted to work for longer than three months with one employer. For information on rates of pay and employment conditions, you should contact the Department of Employment and Small Businesses in Australia. Alternatively, general information on wages and conditions can be obtained through

To find work before you get to Australia, contact employment agencies with Australian links such as Auslink (020-7256 9070), which has been set up to help British citizens find work overseas. Alternatively, Australian Outlook, a newspaper published in the UK for migrants and visitors to Australia, contains useful information on living and working in Australia (01424-223111). In addition, the Australian versions of the White Pages and the Yellow Pages are available online and in the main entrance to Australia House.

Employment agency Auslink has been set up to help British citizens find work overseas

Q I am a 35-year-old project manager who has been working in the construction industry for more than 10 years. I have extensive experience in office developments and I am now interested in moving into the housing sector. How do I go about it?

A You only have to look at most major urban housing projects to see that most are multistorey flats or apartment blocks. As a result, they tend to involve the construction of reinforced concrete-framed buildings, including lift shafts and underground car parks. This is far removed from the more traditional housing developments on greenfield sites and, as a result, the standard housebuilder may not have the right experience.

Large housing developers are now seriously looking at recruiting people from a commercial construction background. A commercial project manager who has worked on a multimillion-pound high-rise office is likely to be snapped up immediately. The salary is as competitive as the commercial sector and an experienced project manager working in central London can earn £40 000 plus full benefits.