By the time you reach the end of your A-Levels you’ll have been in continuous education for over a decade. Many people choose to stay on the education treadmill to university, but a lot of others decide to take a gap year. It’s not hard to see why this is appealing.
Some students want to travel the world or take some chill time to bask in the glow of A-Level success. Others just want some time to reflect on underwhelming results or just like thinking deeply. But, can a gap year between A-Level and university serve a more functional purpose and help you with your career? Yes, in several ways.
By immersing yourself in another country for a year, you could potentially learn a second language. According to research by Adzuna (see the link at the bottom of this page for details), reported in the Independent Online, being bi-lingual could increase your employability and earning potential in the UK on your return. The most lucrative second languages are German, Arabic and French.
If you do an internship or work experience you would also increase your employability. An article on gapyear.com ( https://www.gapyear.com/articles/travel-tips/10-ways-a-gap-year-can-improve-your-career ) reveals that most HR managers believe that relevant work experience is more valuable than the average non-vocational degree. So, try and volunteer in an area that is relevant to your future career aspirations.
In a gap year, you can take yourself out of your comfort zone. You could do something unusual, such as volunteering in a developing country. You could go backpacking and take in some extreme experiences as you go. Either way, you’ll develop confidence and a sense of resilience. These are two qualities that will help you succeed, both in the business world and general life.
A gap year also offers the potential of finding new friends, forging strong connections and building a network of similar get-up-and-go types who could be instrumental in your future, as you attempt to progress in your career.
There are plenty of reasons then, to take a gap year. You just need to make the most of it if you do.
Adzuna research on employability when possessing a foreign language: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/the-top-9-languages-for-the-highestpaid-jobs-in-britain-a7329201.html
I am a practising HR consultant working with several start-ups on an ongoing and ad-hoc basis in the London and M4 area, and am a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development or CIPD. I am the Director of thecareercafe.co.uk; thecareercafe.co.uk is a resource for start-ups and small business. It includes a blog containing career advice, small business advice articles, HR software reviews, and contains great resources such as HR Productivity Apps.