Thursday, 15 August 2013 1:55 PM
As school-leavers collect their A Level results, ABTA is expecting a whopping 24,000 students to take a gap year in 2013.
ABTA has reported that members specialising in gap year travel have experienced increases in bookings over the last 12 months as interest in taking a gap year returns amongst school leavers.
Building an effective CV rather than just having an extended holiday
With increased pressure on student finances, rising numbers of gappers are approaching tour operators for work experience placements overseas; with one major ABTA member seeing sales almost double in the last twelve months for Teaching English as a Foreign Language option.
With a tough economic environment, it appears many gappers are looking to boost their CVs and their employment prospects by choosing working holidays and volunteering options rather than the extended holiday of years gone by.
Abbie Baisden from leading online graduate recruitment company Milkround.com said: “Many employers view gap years positively. A survey by gapyear.com identified that 63 per cent of HR professionals saw a gap year spent well, volunteering and working overseas as really making a CV stand out. The important thing is to present your time away as a way of enriching and developing yourself, learning new skills and exposing yourself to new challenges and environments.”
The gap stint
With the increase in tuition fees and the economic downturn, many students appear to be opting for shorter experiences rather than cutting back on their year out completely. ABTA Members are reporting an increase in numbers looking for shorter experiences; month long tours rather than a full year.
Most popular gap year activities
The most popular type of gap year requested by school leavers for 2013/4 are work experience placements abroad. These include activities such as Teaching English as a Foreign Language, bar work and internships. Following these are volunteering gap years, with many students choosing to work with local communities and participate in wildlife conservation projects. With a bewildering array of volunteering opportunities available to gappers, it is important that they sign up with a reputable company so that their work provides a valuable experience both for themselves and local people.
Adventure gap years are also proving popular, with tour operators offering all kinds of activities from martial arts boot camps to surf schools and ranching lessons. The more traditional round-the-world backpacking gap year has dropped behind these options although still remains popular.
Victoria Bacon, Head of Communications, ABTA said: “Gap years have become even more popular among British teenagers since the rise in tuition fees in 2012 and increased competition for graduate jobs, with many students now looking to travel experiences to help make their gap year stand out on the CV. There is now an incredible choice of activities and destinations to support young travellers in developing and learning new skills. It’s very important that if you’re planning a gap year, you research your options thoroughly: talk to a travel professional, who will be able to offer you advice about destinations and experiences; check travel advice with ABTA and the Foreign Office and always book with a reputable company.”
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