Jobs in the Scottish Highlands
The Scottish Highlands and Islands are isolated and cold, but they boast some of Britain’s most spectacular scenery – and the world’s favourite whisky! Here’s our guide to finding seasonal work in this Scottish region. Types of seasonal work in the Highlands of Scotland
The Scottish Highlands is extremely dependent on tourism, with many residents working for only part of the year. 30% of the population work in catering and hospitality. As a result, the region’s economy, employment and even health levels follow seasonal patterns. If you’re a backpacker, then you can time this to your advantage by arriving in time for the summer season (no sooner than March).
The Scottish Islands fall into three groups: the Shetland Islands, the Orkney Islands, and the Hebrides (home to several world-famous whisky distilleries). Seasonal jobs here are scarce and in high demand! But, like the Highlands, the Islands have a thriving tourist culture, so hospitality vacancies begin to appear in early spring. If you have engineering experience or qualifications, look up some of the Islands’ ferry companies – operators such as Caledonian MacBrayne recruit on a seasonal basis, offering shift work and good rates of pay.
Throughout the Highlands and Islands, seasonal work opportunities range from catering to strawberry picking and salmon vaccinating. Most of these jobs are offered for the holiday season, from May-October and sometimes between March-November. Inverness is the main draw for backpackers, as the city claims to have 20% of the Highlands’ jobs.
Seasonal Live-in Jobs
Hospitality jobs are often offered on a live-in basis, which sometimes includes food too. You can work as a receptionist, waiter, bartender or chef, particularly if you arrive with relevant qualifications. This can be a great way to begin your UK visit, but beware – living under the same roof as your employer can be difficult and tiring!
Where to find temporary jobs
- Register with the agencies: this is best done in person, taking printed copies of your CV (resume) – be prepared to take a typing test! Try Moray Firth or Michael Page in Inverness.
- Off the cuff: Shops, bars and hotels often need extra staff – people to help with catering and childcare in summer, retail assistants, waiters and bar staff in the winter. Many will accept in-person job applications – and you could make a better impact than by sending in your CV in the traditional manner.
- Pick up the jobs pages: the Inverness Courier publishes its jobs online (http://www.jobs-north.co.uk/).
Finding accommodation in the Highlands
A youth hostel is a great place to stay for your trip – you’ll make friends as well as enjoying good rates on rooms. Try Scotland Hostels (http://www.hostels.com/en/gb.sc.hi.html) to find one close to your destination.