Vetlink Employment Service

Scotland – A path less travelled

While many an antipodean working holiday maker follows the well-trodden path to London and its surrounds, relatively few make the journey north across the border to Scotland. But if you’re considering heading to the UK for a working holiday, or if you’re based there already, Scotland has more to offer than just kilts and thistles.

The great outdoors

Think of Scotland and images of craggy peaks, heather-clad glens and windswept castles come to mind. With a population of just over 5 million, Scotland is considerably less crowded than neighbouring England, so much of its countryside remains wild and untouched. The unique landscape is undoubtedly one of Scotland’s greatest attractions and is responsible for drawing many a nature lover, outdoor adventure enthusiast and history buff to this part of the UK.

The famed Scottish Highlands are one of the country’s most important conservation areas. Within the rugged and extreme mountains, pristine rivers and pine woods, wildlife fans can try their luck spotting four of Scotland’s very own ‘Big 5’ – the red deer, otter, golden eagle and red squirrel. To tick off the fifth member, you’ll need to explore some of the thousands of kilometres of unspoiled Scottish coastline in search of the harbour seal, affectionately known to locals as ‘The Curious Seadog’.

When it comes to getting your activity fix in Scotland, there is no shortage of options – good to know when you’re in the land of the deep-fried Mars Bar. You can hike or mountain bike the mountains, kayak the stunning coastline, lochs and rivers, ski or board the snowfields or tee off at one of the 550 or so golf courses dotted around the country.

While Scotland might have a reputation – and deservedly so – for being a little on the chilly side, this only enhances the beauty and atmosphere of its majestic scenery and historic landmarks. After all, what better way to warm up after a bracing afternoon hike in the Scottish Highlands than fireside in a centuries-old castle, sipping on a fine single-malt?

Cultural Scotland

If history is your thing, Scotland has literally thousands of castles, ruins and other significant sites to explore. On the famous Royal Mile of Edinburgh’s Old Town, you’ll find some of the city’s oldest buildings, including Holyrood and Edinburgh Castles, while the 18th century ‘New’ Town, is home to an extensive collection of neo-classical and Georgian architecture. Such is their historical significance, Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns are a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Together with other cultural attractions and events, like the National Gallery, National Museum, Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh Fringe, it’s easy to see why the Scottish capital is second only to London as the biggest tourist drawcard in the UK.

Edinburgh might claim most of the limelight and better known urban tourist attractions, but don’t write off its larger and – historically, at least – grittier counterpart in Glasgow. Unlike the bleak, hard city often depicted in the past, Glasgow is surprisingly pretty, with flourishing cultural, entertainment and foodie scenes. New restaurants, cafes, bars and music venues are opening all the time, and the nation’s major arts organisations, including the Scottish Ballet, Opera and National Orchestra, are based there.

Whichever city you prefer, accessibility isn’t a problem, with both Edinburgh and Glasgow serviced by train stations and international airports connecting to major UK centres, Europe, North America and beyond. So if you do need some respite from the Scottish chill, the sunny beaches of Portugal, Spain and other European hotspots are only a short flight away.

Working in Scotland

If the spectacular scenery, rich history and cultural attractions aren’t enough to draw you in, the increasing availability of veterinary work in Scotland makes it a destination worthy of consideration. As with other parts of the UK, vets from Australia and New Zealand are well-received in Scotland and typically find the transition to working here straightforward.

Whether you’re looking to base yourself in the heart of the city, or deep in the countryside, Vetlink has positions available for both small animal and mixed practice vets in a number of locations throughout Scotland.

Locum rates are similar to elsewhere in the UK, ranging from £350 to £450 per day on average plus accommodation and in mixed/farm jobs use of a car, leaving more money in your pocket to explore and enjoy this beautiful place – not to mention the rest of the UK, and Europe – during your time off.

Contact us

If you’d like to learn more about working in Scotland or anywhere else in the UK, we’d love to hear from you. We can help guide you through the process of applying for a visa and registering with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and even help you organise your first job before you arrive. For more information, please contact us.

Last Updated: May 2024

DISCLAIMER: The above information is for guidance purposes only. Vetlink takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information, which is not intended as immigration advice. We recommend you take immigration advice from a suitably qualified professional. The salary information is based on our experience rather than a salary survey. Vetlink is not responsible for the accuracy of the salary information.