If you’re looking for an exciting job in a great city then it might be time to follow UK rail engineer Kyle Wright and make the move to Victoria.
Kyle is accelerating his career in the global rail industry while enjoying a lifestyle he says is hard to match.
"Melbourne is a big city without the hassles. It’s sophisticated, diverse and relaxed – and with a skills shortage in its rail industry it’s a great place to step up your career too."
Kyle grew up in Northern Ireland and studied engineering in Glasgow before landing in Melbourne for a brief work placement as part of a two-year graduate program with global rail consultancy, Interfleet.
When the Melbourne office offered him a job a few months after his return to the UK, Kyle jumped at the chance to come back.
"I fell in love with Melbourne the first week I was here. There wasn’t much adjustment needed. It’s got everything you’d want and it’s easy to live here."
Melbourne is Australia’s sporting, events and retail capital, with a population of four million people who come from many diverse backgrounds.
Migrants from all over the world feel at home in Melbourne, with its historic architecture, ethnic diversity, rich cultural life and tolerant, welcoming local community. Melbourne is consistently ranked one of the world’s most liveable cities by The Economist magazine.
Kyle’s career has taken off since he arrived on a 457 long-stay visa in 2005.
Melbourne has the world’s largest tram network and substantial investment is underway in its train network as it shifts from a suburban network to a high-capacity, big city metro service.
"The technology used in the rail industry is similar to the UK and across Europe and the workplace is very easy to slot into," Kyle said.
"I’ve found the salary and conditions better and the work culture is more relaxed but still with lots of challenges."
After several years as a consultant engineer with Interfleet, Kyle moved to Connex in 2008, which operated Melbourne’s rail network until 2009. When Metro Trains took on the contract Kyle gained a range of new and exciting responsibilities.
Metro Trains Recruitment Manager, Peter Kellaway, said Melbourne’s train patronage will double in the next decade and the company is seeking rail specialists in a range of disciplines including electrical engineers, signal engineers, design engineers, overhead lines and distribution engineers, rolling stock engineers, substation engineers, project and senior project managers, and signal maintenance technicians.
"We have the combined challenge of Melbourne being Australia’s fastest growing city and the mining boom in other states causing us to compete for skilled workers," he said.
Metro Trains arranges visas for skilled workers and their families and provides financial and other relocation support services to help them settle in.
It’s made things easy for Kyle, who says he’s enjoying the many opportunities he has to build on his engineering expertise.
"Building on my technical background, my current role includes liaising with a major rolling stock manufacturer regarding various safety, technical and quality issues. It’s been a big challenge but I’m loving it."
With regular site visits to the regional city of Ballarat to inspect new rolling stock, Kyle also gets to see the advantages of living outside the capital. Victoria’s thriving regional areas offer diverse lifestyles from coastal to alpine living and include several cities of between 50,000 and 200,000 people within easy reach of the capital.
Kyle has enjoyed the best of both worlds in Melbourne, living first in its buzzing Southbank precinct in the city centre before switching to the relaxed suburban lifestyle made famous by the TV show, Neighbours.
He also found love in Victoria, meeting his Australian partner Fiona at a pub and the young couple now live in the eastern suburbs with their two dogs. They enjoy all the advantages that Victoria’s mild climate has to offer including daytrips to some of Australia’s most spectacular beaches, the nearby Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Valley wineries.
"The whole move re-energised me and I’ve done a few trips around Australia, including skydiving at Byron Bay and scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef. I did an adventure tour through the red centre sleeping in swags under the stars and visiting Uluru. When you actually get out there you realise just how big this country is."
Kyle loves Victoria for its four distinct seasons which allow for surfing in summer and snow skiing in winter.
"There’s lots of golf courses in the suburbs and you can play all year round although I’ve learnt to start early in the morning in the summer months," he said.
Melbourne’s housing sector has maintained its strength as the state’s economic and population growth continues, but Kyle says you get more for your buck with most homes featuring generous backyards and outdoor living spaces.
"I love my Melbourne life and wouldn’t swap it for anything. It’s better than anything I expected and I really feel I’m at home here."