New Zealanders spending a couple of years in Europe are a familiar sight in Britain, but most do it at the start of their working life.
Trevor Crawley, new director UK at Opus International, admits: 'I never did that when I was young, so I'm doing it now.' After 25 years with Opus in its home territory, Crawley has arrived in the UK in the wake of the company formally consolidating its UK subsidiaries, tasked with driving an ambitious growth plan that will see staff numbers increase from 180 to 700 by 2011.
Globally Opus has about 1,700 staff in offices in the UK, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and in project offices in a number of developing countries in the Asia/Pacic region.
The Opus UK business was established in London in 1989, initially to provide architectural services as a sub consultant to BDP Architects. In 1991, in joint venture with Benaim, Opus secured its first major UK project for the design of the North Greenwich underground railway station on London's Jubilee Line.
Opus UK now operates out of ofces in Nottingham, London, Stevenage, Fareham, Cardiff, Wrexham, Manchester and Bristol.
'One of the key things is to bring all the parts of the company together under a common umbrella, ' Crawley says. 'We're also looking to grow by acquisition and a certain amount of organic growth.
'We will look to grow from a solid base, rather than spreading our wings too far too early.' Crawley says the consolidation of the UK businesses should bring opportunities on both sides of the world. 'I see people being able to go to New Zealand to get work experience and a lot of young graduates in New Zealand wanting to come and work here, ' he says.
The decision to travel halfway across the world was not hard, says Crawley, whose previous roles in Opus included stints in every major city in New Zealand and six months in Malaysia. Prior to that he was in the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
His appointment is for two years, with the main task of nding a successor from the UK.
Q&A Trevor Crawley
Best thing about the UK so far: After three weeks it's a bit early to tell, but I've been impressed by the friendliness and helpfulness of everyone.
Worst thing about the UK so far: Smoking in hotels - but I hear that's going to change soon.
Favourite food: I'm a seafood man.
Career highlight: Being appointed director UK.
Career lowlight: Any time I've had to be involved with redundancies.
Interesting fact: Two players from the rugby club side I used to coach played in the first Rugby World Cup on different sides (All Blacks and Tonga).
Tip for the Rugby World Cup: I'm quietly condent.