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Winter breaks

YOUR CAREER - Overseas opportunities: The Middle East and Australia beckon for those engineers looking to follow the sun.

With Christmas looming and temperatures starting to fall to those we expect of a British winter, thoughts turn to warmer climates and overseas postings.

But with global peace hanging in the balance, where are the best places to look for work? Edward Twaite, associate director at international recruitment consultancy BBT Overseas, paints a positive picture for UK and European engineers looking for a change.

'There are loads of overseas opportunities in consultancy and construction at the moment, especially in the Middle East, where confidence remains high and traditional markets are still booming.

This is particularly true for Qatar, where preparations are under way for the 2006 Asian Games. There are opportunities in water, wastewater, highways and other aspects of infrastructure development, with firms looking for resident engineers, senior design engineers and project managers from the UK.

Living conditions are good in Qatar, which is fairly westernised, and it's fine to take your family. It's a quiet place, but it's nice, hot and, above all, tax free.

In addition to Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai are still very busy, says Twaite, as are China, eastern Europe and central Asia.

Africa is picking up slightly, particularly Nigeria, on infrastructure projects as well as in the hydrocarbons sector.

There is also still a strong demand for foreign language speakers in France, Spain and Germany, particularly for quantity surveyors, project managers and architects, while South East Asia remains pretty quiet, with most firms only employing staff at a local level.

And in Australia, BBT's Melbourne office is as busy as in London. 'Many of the country's larger consultancies are looking to take on engineers, transport economists and quantity surveyors from the UK, ' says Twaite.

Key points lThere are many opportunities in consultancy and construction, especially in the Middle East lThere is a strong demand for foreign language speakers in France, Spain and Germany lAustralia's big consultancies are looking to take on UK engineers, transport economists and quantity surveyors

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