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Survey new arrivals

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Survey new arrivals

  1. Work experience (or Work abroad) Travel with the intention to work and experience the culture and life of the host destination. It is usually a paid experience (unlike volunteering). This sector includes, but is not limited to, Work & Travel programmes, Work Experience Abroad, Work & Study, Working Holiday programmes, Internships, Au Pair, Teaching Abroad, Camp Counsellors, etc


ncreased mobility. Young people undertake more long-haul trips and are more likely to be living for a prolonged period outside their home region. Mobility is facilitated by greater ease of earning money (or working remotely) while travelling. This travel lifestyle makes young people happy and therefore likely to repeat the experience.

Increased participation in the sharing economy, including accommodation and car/ride sharing. The growth of the sharing economy is clear with over 20% of youth travellers having used Airbnb or similar. There is a strong link between ‘living like a local’ and sharing economy accommodation in the youth travel market.


In 2017, young travellers who considered work experience as the primary purpose of travel accounted for 13% of New Horizons respondents. This is a slightly smaller proportion compared to 2012 (15.3%), but a significant increase compared with 2007 (7%). The big rise between 2007 and 2012 can be linked to the global economic downturn and an increase in young people trying to better their job prospects by gaining cultural knowledge through experience abroad.


In the 2012 New Horizons Survey, respondents were asked to report on internships and volunteering, and also if they ‘worked to earn money’ while travelling. The proportion of all travellers undertaking volunteering or internships rose from 8% in 2012 to almost 11% in 2017, and the proportion who reported working to earn money while travelling increased from 15.6% in 2012 to 16.8% in 2017. The indications are that young people are continuing to travel in order to gain work experience, even when this is not the main purpose of their trip.


The Hotcourses Group International Student Survey of 2018 also indicates that work experience abroad is popular. The chance to gain work experience was the most important motivation to study abroad, with post-study work opportunities in the destination country also among the top three motivations. This points to a growing integration of work abroad and study abroad, with many universities offering visiting students the opportunity to get work experience during their stay. Parents also seem to think along similar lines. The 2017 HSBC report on international education, The Value of Education: Higher and higher, says that parents see the main benefits of a university education abroad as being to help their child gain international work experience (49%), develop foreign language skills (49%) and to be exposed to new experiences, ideas and cultures (48%). Internships abroad can arguably make students more interesting for prospective employers.

In order to earn money in the travel destination, most young workers will need to organise a work or a working holiday visa. A number of countries offer structured schemes through which young people can apply for visas, allowing them to work, usually in combination with holiday travel or study.


Work experience vs other forms of youth travel The proportion of New Horizon IV respondents who indicated that work experience was an extremely important purpose of their travel was 13% in 2017, a slight decline compared with 2012. Work experience accounts for a similar proportion of youth travel as study travel but is less significant than holiday travel or language learning travel. Figure 3 Purpose of travel, 2012 and 2017 2012 2017 % 0 20 40 60 Work Study Volunteering Au


n addition to those indicating that work experience was an ‘extremely important purpose’ of their trip, a further 27% of respondents indicated that it was either a ‘very important’ or ‘important’ purpose of their trip


Work experience participants are predominantly aged between 20 and 25 (73% of the total), and usually have a BA level education. They are therefore very likely to be students (65%).


Europe is the main source region for work experience participants, followed by South and North America. The main destination region is North America (particularly the USA), followed by Europe. The pattern of origins and destinations shows a heavy concentration in the developed economies of Europe and North America.


The main motivations for travel among work experience participants are increasing their knowledge, experiencing everyday life and exploring other cultures. These motives underline the cultural basis of such programmes, and participants are often using their work experience period as an opportunity for foreign language learning (45%). Most travel bookings were made online via a computer (51% of bookings) or in person at a travel agency (25%). The high level of bookings made directly with suppliers (41%) indicates the relatively high level of complexity work experience travel products. The average work experience trip lasted 107 days in 2017 (including both work and travel), a significant increase compared with 2012 (84 days). The average total spend was EUR 4,230, a 22% growth over 2012. Total spend in the destination was EUR 2,800 in 2017, compared with earnings in the destination of EUR 800. This indicates that each work experience participant leaves the destination with a new economic benefit of around EUR 2,000, in addition to the cultural benefits of the exchange. The main benefits reported by work experience programme participants were a desire for more travel (90%), greater self-knowledge and awareness (77%) and more appreciation of other cultures (77%). Work experience participant also reported high levels of happiness. Happiness varied with trip length, as initial euphoria at being in a new culture was replaced by less positive experiences related to culture shock about two to three months into the trip. Those on trips of over three months tended to report higher levels of happiness, indicating recovery from culture shock, which was also aided by the support of a formally organised work experience programme.

What is work experience travel?

Learning via cultural exchange is the foundation of work experience travel 65% of work experience travellers are students and 57% are educated to bachelor’s degree level. They are motivated to increase their knowledge and experience everyday life in another country

The experience is funded by the traveller and his/her family 86% of travel funds are sourced from the youth’s own income, savings, family, and scholarships. Money earned during the trip is just enough to partially offset subsistence costs in the destination.


Quality work abroad programmes are transformational, life enhancing and a hugely positive experience for the majority of young people who participate in them, as well as the the communities that host them. The protection and ethical treatment of young people travelling and working abroad is therefore of utmost importance. Removed from the familiarity and relative safety of home, the experience of travelling overseas to live and work can leave a young person out of their depth and subject to mistreatment. Sadly, sometimes things can go wrong.










There are opportunities to reduce the impact of a reduction in the supply of EU migrant workers. To attract more UK workers to the industry the sector will need to become more competitive within the labour market, and will likely need to employ a number of initiatives, at a business, sector and national level, to recruit the long-term unemployed and economically inactive workers. Examples include:


  • introduction of or extension of employment programmes, e.g. apprenticeships and graduate schemes;
  • increased training offerings, including training in hard skills e.g. for chefs;
  • initiatives aimed at specific population groups e.g. the long-term unemployed and exprisoners;
  1. Hotels and similar accommodation 22.1% 34.1% 
  2. Holiday and other short stay accommodation 6.1% 21.3% 
  3. Camping grounds, recreational vehicle parks and trailer parks 15.6% – 
  4. Other accommodation 12.9% –
  5.  Licensed restaurants, unlicensed restaurants and cafes and take away food shops and mobile food stands 13.8% 26.1% 
  6. Licensed clubs and public houses and bars 4.3% 8.1% 
  7. Event catering activities and other food service activities 7.5% 10.1% 
  8. In-house catering sectors outside the core hospitality industry24 – 29.4% 
  9. Convention and trade show organisers 2.5% n/a25


  • Bar staff 11.3%
  • Catering and bar managers 20.8% Chefs 24.6%
  • Cleaning and housekeeping managers and supervisors 23.7% Cooks 15.4%
  • Customer service assistants 4.7% Customer service managers and supervisors 7.2%
  • Hotel and accommodation managers and proprietors 13.5% Housekeepers 37.1%
  • Kitchen and catering assistants 21.6%
  • Other 15.7%
  • Receptionist 18.7%
  • Waiters and waitresses 75.3%



reduce labour turnover;

— increase recruitment from the pool of unemployed jobseekers;

— increase recruitment from the pool of currently inactive individuals;

— increase recruitment of migrants from the rest of the world;

— increase recruitment of workers from other sectors; and/or

— reduce the reliance on labour through increased productivity (for example through automation).

How much money did you arrive with

Less that £1000
Between £2000 and £3000
Between £3000 and £4000
More than £5000

What is associated level of experience?

non-paid students who volunteer to work for free
paid positions that don’t include any management
step up from staff members and usually work on projects
more responsibility in running a department or project

What were some of you goals you set prior to arriving in London

to be more independent
opportunity to earn money to travel
escape from a constrained home environment
exploration and encountering other cultures
opportunity to earn money to free myself from my parents
find a company will to hire me and and learn new skills
find full time work and boost my CV
to be mobile and free time
to have fun for two years without conditions
get paid enough to travel to adventurous destinations
Live a cheap as possible and travel frequently
do entry level work and have no stress pressure
very specific travel motivations, like volunteering

The first wave of survey from data collected shows a clear trend t

Score card of importance

We list a few words and asked  each person to lace 1 point if the subject was important, and 0 if it was not important. We have 645 participants, the higher the score the more collectively  the group placed importance. 50/50 score would indicate environment conditions plays a bigger role 

Living with other travellers
living without the usual contractual commitments
having consistency of work when needed
having access to work 70 hour a week if needed
avoid paying security deposit private landlords
avoid travel funds going into room deposits
Freedom to take spontaneous trips
freedom from control and expectations
having choice of switching work On or OFF
sign employment contract short periods of time
having immediate income in London
having immediate income after expensive trip

The Working Holiday Club