Gap year volunteer numbers rise

A recent study has shown that more people are volunteering on their gap year.

One of the world’s largest commercial volunteering operations has revealed that applications are up by nearly a third.

Projects Abroad, which was set up in 1992 and sends volunteers from the UK to projects around the world, says early indications suggest interest this autumn is up by around 30%.

Managing Director, Peter Slowe, puts the increase down to a combination of tougher than usual competition for university places and increased interest in getting the best value out of a UK university education.

“Our young volunteers, who were disappointed in not finding a place at university this year, are now seeing it as a blessing in disguise,” according to Dr Slowe.

“They have realised that volunteering is an excellent way to step off the treadmill of academia and broaden their outlook, life skills and general education, while enriching the lives of others.

“Even a short experience abroad is a maturing and confidence-building exercise - the perfect pre-cursor to taking on a serious course of study in any field or institution back home.” General Manager, Tim Fenton, said the up-turn backed research undertaken by this site earlier in the year.

“Our survey of recruiters found 85% thought relevant work experience was more valuable to a job-seeker than an average non-vocational degree. And more than half thought young people taking constructive gap years tended to get better value out of subsequent education.

“These numbers from Projects Abroad suggest people are now taking that sort of thinking into account when planning their education and careers.”

Did volunteering on a gap year give you relevant work experience? Did it help you get a job? What were some of your volunteering experiences? Post your comments below…

Photo of Volunteering taken by Projects Abroad.