01 Oct 2022

10-pound flyers land jobs in South Australia

Ailsa from Scotland and Oliver from Manchester - now working in South Australian tourism industry
Ailsa from Scotland and Oliver from Manchester - now working in South Australian tourism industry

A tour guide, hotel concierge and bar attendant are among the working holiday makers to secure jobs after jetting Down Under as part of the South Australian Tourism Commission’s ‘£10 flight’ campaign.

Launched in April, the campaign attracted global attention as it offered young travellers in the United Kingdom and Ireland return flights to Adelaide for just £10 – spruiking the benefits of a working holiday in South Australia and seeking to help fill workforce shortages in the tourism industry.

It enabled 200 young Working Holiday Visa holders to book and travel to South Australia, and a follow-up £499 package was offered on the back of overwhelming demand, with more than 120 additional young workers taking up the second deal.

With the first of the travellers now having landed in Adelaide, the SATC is connecting them with potential employers through a series of ‘G’Day SA’ welcome functions held at YHA's Adelaide Central property.

Around 50 working holiday makers attended an event held on Monday night, with the opportunity to ‘speed date’ operators from a range of tourism and hospitality businesses – including Adelaide Oval, Strathmore Hotel, Hilton Adelaide, Barossa Fine Foods, Smiling Samoyed Brewery in Myponga, and The Moseley Beach Club in Glenelg.

Several employment contracts were offered to Working Holiday Visa holders on the night, with some already having signed and started work, and other job placement opportunities still being explored.

In addition to the events, the working holiday makers attracted through the campaign are provided with information and contacts to help find job opportunities in South Australia. This includes a new jobs portal on the SATC’s southaustralia.com website, and connections made with The Backpacker List – a recruitment agency specialising in working holiday maker recruitment, and the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) SA.

Prior to the pandemic, the backpacker market was a significant employer within South Australia’s tourism, hospitality, and primary industry sectors. In 2019, there was 27,000 working holiday visitors to the state, spending $47 million in the visitor economy.

Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison said the backpacker market is an important part of the state’s visitor economy as they travel and experience what’s on offer, and make a valuable contribution to workforce bringing passion and vibrancy to sectors like hospitality.

"It’s been fantastic to see our tourism operators reconnecting with backpackers at our G’Day SA events, and to hear these young travellers are already working in our bars, restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions – it all helps as we rebuild our once $1.2 billion international market," Minister Bettison said.

"Through this campaign, we’re not only getting the word out into global markets that South Australia is a wonderful place to live, work and holiday – we’re also connecting young people who are eager to work with tourism and hospitality businesses that have job vacancies."

Australian Hotels Association SA general manager Ian Horne said it was terrific to meet some of the young travellers and hear how excited they were for their adventures in South Australia.

"We’ve had really good engagement from tourism and hospitality operators through this program, and I’m excited to see the first of the UK workers take up jobs in regional pubs, working in our world-class cafes and restaurants or picking up any number of roles in our CBD hotels," he said.

"The SATC campaign gave South Australia the jump on many young UK workers who were keen to come ‘Down Under’ for our summer, and we’re doing everything we can to encourage them to stay longer, keep exploring and embrace a working holiday in our state."

One of the £499 flyers who has secured a job working as tour guide at Wilderness Escapes is Oliver Langian from Manchester, and said it was the £10 flight that caught his attention.

"I’d always been keen on living in Australia but wasn’t sure where to go or when to do it – so when I saw this, I jumped at the chance. While I didn’t get the £10 flight, I did get the second round £499 offer, so I was stoked," he said.

"So far, I’ve loved it here and love my new job as a tour guide. I’ve worked for about three weeks now and I’ve already been to the Riverland and Flinders Ranges, and just spent the last few days kayaking on the Murray River with a group of school students.

"Next on my bucket list is Kangaroo Island. It’s gonna be awesome having my first Aussie summer."

The Pullman Adelaide was one of the hotels represented at the SATC's job-placer event, and recruited Ailsa McCallum who came to SA on a £499 flight as part of the campaign.

General Manager of Pullman and ibis Adelaide Llewellyn Wyeth said with the hotel and tourism industry once again busy and back to the volumes of 2019, their group "wholeheartedly supports this great initiative".

"Providing opportunities for working holiday travellers, giving them the chance to explore and work in our great state helps our tourism industry, the economy and provides job placements in venues that are struggling to find staff," he said.

"The last quarter of the year looks to be very busy for Adelaide with the T20 World Cup and the return of the Adelaide 500; this is a great time to welcome overseas travellers, provide them with training and support them in short or long term career paths within the tourism industry."

Hosting the G'Day SA events at YHA Adelaide Central, YHA Australia CEO Paul McGrath said: "YHA is delighted to see the number of Working Holiday Makers staying with us across Australia, increase by over 36% from August to September.

"Adelaide is a great base to explore the state, and we’re thrilled to see this market return which is really important to YHA’s network of properties across all capital cities and major tourist destinations."