Five ways to make the most of a gap year

If you plan to take time off before university or work, Jessica Moore offers some options that could enhance your CV

Gap years don’t have to cost the Earth. In fact, you can even earn as you go

Think carefully about what you hope to achieve from your gap experience, whether that’s a CV-enhancing, boost to your bank balance or an intrepid far-away adventure. A YouGov gap year survey found that 63 per cent of HR professionals felt that a constructive gap year spent volunteering or gaining work experience makes a job application stand out. Year Out Group represents a range of well-structured programmes and experiences (yearoutgroup.org), while stalwarts in the marketplace include Gap Year (0800 082 9995; gapyear.com), the travel social network and advice site that launches a worldwide planning and booking service tomorrow; as well as Real Gap (01273 647220, realgap.co.uk) and Lattitude (0118 959 4914; lattitude.org.uk).

Earn some cash

Gap years don’t have to cost the Earth. In fact, you can even earn as you go. Head to Norway with Twin Work and Volunteer (0800 80 483 80; workandvolunteer.com) to pick fruit, milk cows or work as a receptionist. You’ll be expected to put in around 35 hours a week in exchange for accommodation with a local family, food and about £100 a week pocket money. Placements, lasting eight to 26 weeks, are located all over Norway too, so you could be in the forests of the north or the fjords and islands of the south.

Scale new heights

Dizzying ones, in fact. Travel to Nepal with Gap Force (020 7384 3028; gapforce.org) to learn the language, participate in projects such as environmental conservation work and trek through the Himalayan mountains to Everest Base Camp. There are also opportunities to see elephants, search for a Bengal tiger and go white-water rafting. Expeditions last two to five weeks and cost from £930, including home-stay accommodation, meals, in-country training and support, and excursions. Travel to

Help save threatened species

Go out on the prowl in the Botswana wilderness, monitoring elephant, raptor, lion and leopard populations. Volunteers also help conserve these animals’ natural habitat by removing invasive plants and trees, and to integrate with communities by helping to run educational “bush camps” with local children. Projects last from two to 12 weeks with Conservation Africa (01454 269 182; conservationafrica.net) and cost from £2,620 including flights and transfers, accommodation, meals and in-country support.

Gain work experience

Enhance your job prospects with an internship. A typical project with The Year in Industry (01707 871520; etrust.org.uk/the-year-in-industry) could see you working for an electrical engineering company in Manchester, earning £12k-£14k. Further opportunities in science and engineering include those at companies including National Grid, Rolls-Royce and L’Oréal.

Further afield, The Intern Group (0800 082 9995; theinterngroup.com/hong-kong) offers international placements in a range of sectors. Travel to Hong Kong to help stage TED conferences in subjects from art and fashion to economics and ethics, for example. This placement lasts from six weeks to six months, costing from £3,167 including accommodation and visas, but not international travel.

Score some goals

<b>59. INDIA REFUSE TO PLAY</b><br/>
India, not known for their football prowess, qualified for the 1950 World Cup. Four countries from Asia were invited to participate at the tournament in Brazil and when Burma, Philippines and Indonesia all turned down the invite, India qualified automatically. Drawn to play in the same group as Sweden, Italy and Paraguay - India refused to play. They wanted to play barefoot but when their request was turned down by Fifa - they withdrew from the tournament. Brazil lasted longer in the World Cup than England – but you might still be able to teach the locals a thing or two about the beautiful game. Sports volunteers in Rio de Janeiro split their time between coaching favela children at the Football Centre and teaching PE at local schools. No qualifications are required – just a desire to train up tomorrow’s David Luiz. Go for two weeks to six months, from £995 including accommodation, breakfast and in-country support, but not travel to Brazil (01903 502 595; travellersworldwide.com).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor