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Why take a Working Holiday in the UK?

If you’ve been fortunate enough to travel at all, be it on a family camping holiday or a more exotic location abroad, chances are it features heavily in the highlight reel of your life. So, what is it about travel that makes it such a universally significant experience?

Travel offers a welcome break from the everyday routine of daily life, providing an opportunity to explore new surroundings, experience different cultures and tackle new challenges. It can also help you to gain a different perspective on your life back home and take stock of what is truly important to you.

Of course, there are many different ways to travel – from all-inclusive tours designed to pack in the maximum amount of sightseeing to a more relaxed approach where you simply choose a destination and allow your holiday to evolve. One of the most rewarding ways to travel, however, is to take a working holiday.

The upside of working holidays

As the name suggests, a working holiday combines short periods of employment with time off to explore and relax. Travelling this way offers a range of advantages over a traditional holiday:

  • You can leave sooner as you don’t need to save as much money before you go; likewise, you can stay away for longer as you will be earning money as you go. When you are making the journey from the other side of the world, you want to be able to stay long enough to have a good look around.
  • While tourist visas typically restrict the time you can spend in a country to a matter of months, visas used by most travellers on a working holiday allow you to stay and work for up to 24 months, so you can stay in your destination longer, giving you more time to explore.
  • It provides the opportunity for immense professional and personal development. In addition to working with and learning from different colleagues in a range of practices and environments, you experience all the day-to-day challenges of living abroad.
  • It gives structure to your holiday. Rather than going out every night partying with fellow travellers, periods of employment keep you disciplined so that you are more likely to appreciate your time off and make the most of it by exploring your surroundings.
  • You’re more likely to get to know the real locals and culture rather than just fellow travellers. These locals can be the source of lifelong friendships and professional support. Getting to know what life is really like in your destination can also help you to make an informed decision about a more permanent move in the future.
  • It acts like a punctuation mark in your life. After years of studying, it can feel a bit daunting to embark on a lifetime of continuous full-time employment. For many, a working holiday acts as a welcome pause, or ‘time-out’, after you have gained a few years of experience and before you move on to the next stage in your life – be it settling down to buy a home or starting a family, or returning to study to further your qualifications.

These are just a few of the reasons why a working holiday is such a worthwhile and life-changing experience. Ask anyone who’s done it and they’re sure to come up with plenty more.

Working holidays for vets

Thanks to reciprocal recognition of veterinary degrees, graduates of Australian or New Zealand veterinary schools may register and practise in the UK without sitting additional exams. As a veterinarian, you can take advantage of this by enjoying a holiday while continuing to work in your chosen profession in short-term locum positions lasting anywhere from one day to several months.

On the whole, Australasian vets tend to be popular and well-received in UK practices, and most find it a pretty straightforward transition. The type of work varies according to where you go, of course, but in general, there tends to be plenty of small animal work in metropolitan areas and both small animal and mixed positions in rural areas.

Good communication skills and medical knowledge are necessary for all locum roles, and small animal vets should be proficient with routine surgeries like desexings, lump removals and dentals. Mixed practice and cattle vets should be confident with pregnancy testing, calvings and caesareans.

What’s the money like?

While many working holidaymakers are restricted to relatively low-paid jobs like hospitality or fruit picking, locum vets are typically paid quite well. In the UK, daily pay rates range from £300 to £450 (approximately AU$569-853 or NZ$630-945). Accommodation, and sometimes a vehicle, is provided with many UK locum positions – leaving you more money for travelling.

Visa options

For locum work in the UK, most veterinarians from Australia and New Zealand use a working holiday type visa known as the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa, which allows people aged 18 to 35 to live, work and travel within the UK for up to 3 years. For more information about your visa options for work in the UK, contact us at Vetlink or go to

How Vetlink can help

Vetlink has been helping veterinarians find locum work in the UK, Australia and New Zealand for over 25 years. Our experienced recruitment consultants provide personalised service to match you with suitable jobs for your skill set and experience. We can also advise you on locations, weather, bank accounts, insurance, registration and more. For more information about working holidays for vets, you are always welcome to contact us at Vetlink by email on or call us for free within Australia on 1800 991 993 or from New Zealand on 0800 543 538.

Last Updated: July 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.