Private school pupils should forget going to China or Tibet on their gap year to teach or travel – and take a job in JD Sports instead, a leading lawyer has advised.
Sandie Okoro, global lead lawyer for HSBC Global Asset Management, said that when it comes to getting a career, working in a supermarket or sports shop speaks volumes - and nobody cares if "your daddy is rich".
“I see all these wonderful places, they’ve gone off to China and built an orphanage, theyve done this and done that," she told the Girls' Day School Trust (GDST) conference, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Gay teenager's yearbook quote mocks the gender pay gap perfectly
Company offers to keep your job while you travel around the world
"OK, so your daddy is rich. That’s great. But when you worked at JD Sports at the weekend to earn some money? When have you dealt with the public? They don’t care where you went to school.
“Forget about the going to China and changing the world or whatever. What are you actually doing that’s different? I want people who can come to me and have had real experiences.”
Ms Okoro, who acts as a mentor for HSBC, said she is swamped by resumes and warned that it is "very difficult" to get into work because it "isn't just about academics anymore".
10 best rucksacks for backpackers
10 best rucksacks for backpackers
1/10 Kathmandu Entrada Pack v2 – 65L +15
Top-loading bags aren’t for everyone and this is another one with a side opening so you can easily access gear on the go. The detachable day pack will work as hand luggage, you can zip up the straps on flights and our tester liked the internal pockets for valuables. £169, Kathmandu.co.uk
2/10 Vango Contour 60+10
Recommended by the Duke of Edinburgh scheme, this is a no-nonsense, durable backpack that won’t break the bank. It has a solid, comfortable back system and plenty of pockets and compartments - a great first trekking bag. £69.29, amazon.co.uk
3/10 Berghaus Motive 65+15 Travel Bag
Doing the odd bit of trekking but mainly need a travel bag? Then this may be the one for you. There’s a zip-around opening so there’s easy access to all your kit and you can padlock the zips together for extra safety. It also comes with a handy detachable 15-litre day sack for those long flights or bus journeys. £128.69, amazon.co.uk
4/10 Vango Sherpa 65L
If you’re planning on heading to your destination during rainy season, check your backpack comes with suitable protection. This one has a rain cover and will do you proud on long treks, plus there are loads of zips so you don’t have to root around for valuables. £74.99, gapyeartravelstore.com
5/10 Lowe Alpine Alpamayo ND 55:75
The proportions of the back panel, hip belt and harness on this bag are optimised for women, so it’ll stay comfy while you’re lugging kit around. The 20 litre day pack is bigger than most removable bags, so plenty of room for all your gear on excursions. £159.99, amazon.co.uk
6/10 Karrimor Global Venture 55L +15
If you’re looking for something a little lighter for your adventure then this compact bag by Karrimor is ideal. There’s a removable daypack and you can zip up the back straps to keep them protected when you’re swapping the road for a flight. £80, karrimor.com
7/10 The North Face Base Camp Duffle 70l
If you’re not planning on doing any hiking with your big pack, a duffle bag might be more suitable. This one is pretty much bombproof, comes in a variety of sizes (although 70 litres will probably do the job) and also has a decent set of shoulder straps for carrying it short distances. £100, cotswoldoutdoor.com
8/10 Berghaus Torridon 65L
If you’re super-organised, look out for a backpack with lots of pockets. Getting everything from your passport to a padlock out of your bag can be a pain when there’s nowhere to store smaller items, but this top-loading bag has loads of little compartments. Also comes in a women's 60-litre model. £80, millets.co.uk
9/10 Karrimor Munro 65L
Our gap year traveller found this bag ideal for keeping gear organised; there are two compartments inside to keep clean and dirty kit separate, a bottom compartment ideal for footwear and side and front pockets ideal for the likes of a travel towel. £99.99, sportsdirect.com
10/10 Haglofs OXO 70lt Expedition Rucksack
This one will put a bit more of a hole in the bank balance but if you’re looking at doing a lot of multi-day treks, you may want to treat yourself with something which gives a lot more comfort. A simple design but with all the bells and whistles you could want. £230, cotswoldoutdoor.com
And she praised customer-facing, consumer experience above and beyond volunteering in orphanages or backpacking through India in terms of picking up valuable skills for the workplace.
"In some professions everyone’s got the same academics, and they can speak five languages as well," she said. "What are you going to bring to me that isn’t in front of me on somebody else’s CV?"
Ms Okoro, who said she had a Saturday job at Marks & Spencers, criticised young people's gap year trips to Asia because they've become "formulaic" and the "norm" - and said that it's almost impossible to believe that they're self-funded.
Gap years have also been subject to parody, such as the satirical sketch 'Gap Yah', which won a YouTube award in 2010.
And she said that rather than hearing about exotic adventures abroad, she would like to see the "mundane and ordinary come back in".Reuse content