Peter was a mechanical engineer although he had been working in a sales role prior to the application. Because of this as part of the application process he was required to complete 3 Competency Essays which demonstrated his level of skill.
Peter told me that they would have been tempted to go through the application themselves but as they knew that if they got turned down the first time they would be too old to then apply again for a skilled migrant visa they choose to go through an agency.
The migrant agent they used was ASA Group, a company recommended to them. Peter said that he did hear of a negative experience from someone using them after they had begun the process which gave him a brief sinking feeling but they had no problems and they were perfectly happy with the service they received.
Before settling in Perth Peter, Helen and their two children Tom then aged 10 and Lucy then aged 6 spent 6 weeks touring the major Australian cities before arriving in Perth. They had been to Australia for holidays in the past but where not entirely sure where they wanted to settle.
Sorrento is North of Perth and not very far from Hillarys Boat Harbour. They choose to live North of the River (NOR) because they wanted to live close to the city and close to the beach. Based on the rental budget they had, their research (confirmed by a real estate agent) indicated that they would need to look at areas NOR. They were glad they made this decision as they found that a lot of migrants lived NOR and they were easily accepted in to the community.
Helen and Peter run their own business here in Perth,
They recently won the Australia Post Best New Business Award for 2005. After only 18 months of their migration to Perth this is an achievement to be proud of. They have made many new friends through the business support groups they joined and found that people where quick to congratulate them for their business success.
Prior to migrating over to Perth Peter and Helen knew they wanted to start their own business although they were not sure what it would be. In fact while they were over on the East Coast they looked at some franchising opportunities, which, have yet to find there way over to Perth.
Helen came across the Chocolate Fountain Business idea (which originated in Canada) in a newspaper article back in the UK. They had seen them around on their travels and liked the idea of a Chocolate Fountain business so they began to research the concept before going ahead and investing in their first Chocolate Fountain. At the time they were still living in short term rental accommodation so Helen would go join all the teenagers down at the internet café in Bentley researching the business opportunities while the teenagers around her were playing on-line games. It just goes to show that you need not let lack of a home computer slow you down. Helen registered the business name from a computer in an internet café in Feb 2004.
In fact at the moment the business takes up a lot of their time delivering fountains in the evening and working at functions during the day is keeping them busy. It leaves little leisure time, however, they still find time to go down to the beach with the children and play taxi and support at the surf life saving club and dancing. Of course you expect to put a lot of hard work and effort into a new business at the beginning if you want it to work
Peter told me that for those of you wanting to start their own business there are a lot of support groups around. The support and encouragement available certainly helps. One organisation he mentioned was
The Small Business Development Corporation
, a government led initiative, which, gives you confidence in the information they are providing as it is unbiased.
They moved to Perth Australia as a result of a lifestyle decision. They had had enough of time sat in traffic trying to navigate their way around the M25. Sitting in endless traffic jams on a bank holiday, by the time you got to your day trip destination it was time to turn round and go back home again then of course the British weather can be so unpredictable.
Rather than selling there home in the UK they decided to rent it out. It’s an investment at the moment, which, if they choose they can sell when the time is right to buy there own place here in Perth. For the time though they are renting a place in Sorrento a suburb they enjoy to live in.
Peter was originally from Manchester and Helen from Durham but they had been living in Tonbridge, Kent for 12 years prior to leaving the UK. Their family did not live close by but they were in constant contact and would visit home once every couple of months. Even so leaving the family was hard, they underestimated just how much they would miss the family.
If they could have done anything different then they would have come straight to Perth and chose to arrive in January. Then the children could start the new school at the beginning of the new school year (which runs from the end of January). Arriving in November meant it was almost the end of school year and the long Christmas holiday which meant they were having to take the children with them while they were finding where they wanted to live. On the subject of education I asked them what they thought about the difference between here and the UK.
Although not as demanding of pupils as the UK is in Perth there is more of a focus on developing a rounded and happy child. There is a higher focus on sport and team work with taking part being the important thing and not the winning. The UK system is far more stressful with too much emphasis being put on academic achievement. The attitude towards children in Perth is far more balanced, sure there are academic talent programs in place for children but there is not the pressure to have to do it. If you have ability then you get the additional challenge but you don’t get pressured into anything.