CAREER-BREAK travellers are soon to get the opportunity to spend part of their "grown-up gap year" working on volunteer projects in the developing world. At present, Voluntary Service Overseas placements are for two years. But in April, VSO is to merge with Beso (British Executive Service Overseas), which specialises in enterprise development. Beso projects require volunteers with business skills, who use their commercial experience to help develop firms in poor communities.

Crucially, Beso's placements last for between one and three months.

To start with, the placements will only be available to Beso's existing volunteers, VSO's returned volunteers and those recruited through VSO's Business Partnerships scheme. However, by next year, the scheme will be open to all.

Mark Goldring, VSO's chief executive, says: "We can use the skills of a much wider section of the British public for whom long-term volunteering is not feasible."

Voluntary Service Overseas: 020-8780 7200;

v A new gap-year show will take place at the Wembley Exhibition Centre on 28 and 29 June, where groups offering courses, seasonal work and volunteer projects will have stands.