Mathew Jaycock wanted more than a backpacking experience to Australia so asked Davis Langdon for a transfer to Perth
CV: Mathew Jaycock is 33 and a cost manager at Davis Langdon in Perth. He worked for Gardiner & Theobald, qualified as a QS in 1999, and joined Davis Langdon in London in April 2001.
So, how did you end up working here?
Through family connections really. My parents came to visit friends here and I fell in love with the place. My brother and sister travelled around the country. But I wanted more than a backpacking trip. So I told people at Davis Langdon in London that I would be interested in moving to the Perth office. When an opportunity arose I took it. I sorted my work visa and transferred in May last year.
Was it difficult to adapt?
A: It has been a real cultural shock actually. You'd think that Australia and the UK are very similar. After all we drive on the same side of the road. But values are very different especially here in Perth. It's on the West Coast. Only 1.4 million people live here. It has a very villagey feel about it, especially after having lived in London where it's all about fast paced and high powered living. Here we have a completely different speed in living. Australian lifestyle is a cross between American and British. It is definitely a much more different country than one originally thinks.
Did you have to upgrade your skills to take up the job?
My wife and I were fortunate enough to get jobs that reflected the positions we both had in the UK.
What about the perks of working in Perth?
The clean environment, the ease of everything. Getting around is easy, you can drive to places. There is no need to book in restaurants, no rush hour. People are very friendly. They immediately trust you and consider you as friend. In London people are very cautious and defensive if they meet a new person. In little Perth it's very different. There is a sense of community that doesn't exist in London. You can meet complete strangers and they'll talk to you. They don't think you're some sort of weirdo. Maybe the weather is to credit for this.
I am looking across the beautiful Swan River. There is a big open green park, palm trees are lining up the shores of the river.
Talking about the weather, is it always sunny and warm?
Well, actually two days ago, we have had a cyclone that came from the northern part of the country 2000 miles away. Otherwise it's warm and humid. Today it's very warm with 37 degrees C.
What do you see from your office window?
I am looking across the beautiful Swan River. There is a big open green park, palm trees are lining up the shores of the river. The buildings are a mixture of eight to 12-storey high and low density rise. It is a beautiful view.
It sounds great, but don't you miss home?
Very much so. I really miss my family, friends and work colleagues. But you have to come to terms with it. You know that it's a long way from the UK and that you can't expect people to pop over for a few days. They have to plan their holiday for weeks before. It's not exactly a three-hour journey. We are very isolated from the UK. Perth can feel like the most isolated place in the world. I am missing them terribly, but you know that when you move abroad it's got to be some sacrifice. At least when they visit, they stay with you for three weeks to a month.
Have you come back home since you moved last May?
No, we haven't been back since. We've planned a trip in September. That'll be almost 17 months away from the UK by then. I personally think that it's not a good thing to come back too soon after your arrival. You have to give the new place a proper go.
You realise that there is more to life than seating at your desk in the same city, the same country. You become aware that you can do whatever you want.
Do you think you might like to move to another country after Australia?
Well, never say never. But we are pretty settled in at the moment. Australia is a very interesting place to be, because it has such a good future in front of it. People come here because they know the country can accommodate so many more people. There is room for growth. In London you can only regenerate. There are no opportunities to mould something new. You feel freer here because it's such a large land.
What advice would you give to people tempted by working abroad?
Think of it seriously. Living abroad is not the same as being on holiday. You'll be living there and still be doing the same job. Take some time to explore the whole thing, plan it thoroughly and believe in yourself. There is no reason why you shouldn't try. Once you do it there is no returning back. It does changes life for the better.
Haven't you had any bad experience so far?
A: No, I haven't met any nasty people nor had any troubles. We recently bought a house. We have met new friends. Australia is a land of immigrants, so almost everybody understands what you've gone through. They've already experienced the trials and tribulations of settling here.
What's the best thing about working abroad?
A: It really broadens your horizons compared to the day to day life of being in London or England. You realise that there is more to life than seating at your desk in the same city, the same country. You become aware that you can do whatever you want.
You can meet complete strangers and they'll talk to you. They don't think you're some sort of weirdo. Maybe the weather is to credit for this.
What experience sums it all up for you?
Walking along the beach, looking at the sea after work. It's better than anything I have lived before. Birds song sound different here. When you hear them it reminds you of memories from holiday. It makes you feel sure of the reasons why you came here in the first place. For this holiday environment.
What about the food?
There is no big difference between the food here and in the UK, but the quality of exotic fruit is exceptional. Australian put a huge emphasis on home grown products.
To go back to work now, how do you get on with the Perth staff?
We are 11 in this office, including three British people and another is coming over soon. There is no difference, apart from the fact that I came from an office of almost 450 staff, so it's easier to communicate with the other people.
Can the UK construction industry learn something from Australia?
As far as the trade people are concerned, yes. Any trade person here has to have a formal training qualification. They don't go into construction by default, just because they weren't very good at school so they ended up becoming a plumber or an electrician. For those, construction is seen as a stop gap. In Australia a bricklayer has to have a formal training. There is a lot more apprenticeship. You don't get the cowboys and do not take the risk of employing someone who might not have the right qualifications.
Any big event coming up in Australia?
Tomorrow [26 January] is Australia Day. We'll go to the Kings Park and Botanic Garden to have a look over the city and the Swan River. We'll bring a picnic and some beers and enjoy the Sky Show fireworks and the music in the evening. Everybody in Australia celebrates it. People put the national flag on their car, house and chimney. I don't know if I'll put the Union Jack up yet….