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Making the Most of Available Schemes

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 2 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Work Schemes Abroad Countries Industries

There are a wide variety of schemes out there that can help you to find work abroad, but much like anything good, it’s not going to come knocking at your door – you have to go out and find it!

If you have your heart set on working abroad for a while, it really is worth your while to see what help, support and advice you may be entitled to as not only will it enable you to make your dream a reality, it can also make your experience considerably less stressful. Although you can think that working abroad will be a heady mixture of learning a new language and eating exotic foods, it can also have a painful amount of admin (in a foreign language!) and systems that make no sense to a British person!


A great way to have the experience of working abroad without some of the hassle is to gain a secondment from your current employer. Many large companies have offices overseas that are keen to have British workers bring their experience, particularly companies that are setting up new offices in emerging markets and want to instill a multinational culture. Start by asking your line manager or HR manager, depending on what best suits your organisation, about the possibilities that are available. Be positive about what you can offer as well as what you will gain from the experience.

Chamber of Commerce

As the British ‘trade body’ representative office, your local Chamber of Commerce is a good place to see what schemes are available. It may be that the office has stronger ties with certain countries and certain industries, so you may not get the full range of options, but you will certainly get a clear view of what possibilities are there.

Gap Year Organisations

Gap years are not just for students! There have been a growing number of companies set up to help arrange and facilitate gap years for people of all ages. Some of the opportunities available are far more ‘professionally beneficial’ that the classic grape picking or nannying jobs that gap years are associated with, so take some time to look at organisations online and you’ll find one that suits your goals.


Teaching English as a Foreign Language, or TEFL, has long been a recognised way to go and work abroad. It starts by taking an accredited language course that gives you the skills and techniques needed to teach English as a foreign language, with the qualification itself a great ‘door opener’. Many adverts that request language teachers ask for a TEFL qualification, so taking it can help you pass the initial recruitment criteria.

Although there are a great many other language courses that you can take, this is the one that is most universally recognised. TEFL is also connected to many agencies that help to arrange placements in countries including France, Spain and Japan, but it is usually down to the individual to arrange their actual accommodation and travel.

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