Gap years are notorious for creating debate – many people see them as the ‘easy way out’, whilst others recognise the value in self-exploration and enrichment in those formative years post-high school. We at Affirmative Portfolios collected 5 great things to do in a gap year to help inspire and motivate school leavers and set them on the path to personal and professional success.

1: Volunteer Your Time

Of course, our first suggestion is a very popular option for a gap year. Volunteering your time adds an incredible amount of value to the humanitarian efforts within your country, and contributes to the wellbeing of extremely diverse groups. Volunteering brings a sense of personal satisfaction and accomplishment, and has a rippling positive effect on one’s community.
The main ‘drawback’ with volunteering is that it does not generate income, therefore school leavers who are financially independent may find this a difficult option to pursue. We highly recommend volunteering to those who can sustain the activity, as it is personally fulfilling and very attractive on a CV, too.

2: Work Experience and Shadowing

A gap year is the ideal time to consider gaining valuable work experience in a few industries so that you can explore your interests, suss out the kind of work you might get into in the future, and explore your interests. Internships, work experience and shadowing are excellent ways to beef up your CV as a school leaver, whilst helping you to decide on a future career path.

If you are fortunate to have the financial support of your parent or guardian, many companies would be happy to take on an unpaid intern to get through some work and learn about the industry, as they do not feel financially obligated, and may actually offer you an entry-level position in the future. If unpaid work is not an option for you, paid internships are out there, and are equally as valuable for developing skills and building relationships.

3: Part-Time Jobs

Your sabbatical can be used to dive headfirst into an entry-level job and start learning job skills and gaining experience right away. Getting a job during a gap year is valuable for many reasons, namely:
– You are building your CV and job skills before you have started tertiary education (if you are choosing to) and thus gaining valuable experience ahead of your peers.
– Earning money as a young person allows you to gain financial independence, at least to some degree, and can lead you to mature and become liberated.

4: Short Learning Programmes

Another great idea on the list of things to do in a gap year is to enrol in short learning programmes with colleges and other institutions. Short learning programmes allow you to expand your CV a little bit whilst indicating to future employers that you are a motivated, inquisitive person who enjoys broadening their own horizons.
Short learning programmes will also allow you to explore your interests and gain glimpses into a number of industries. As with internships, you will be able to suss out where your interests lie and begin planning your next career move with the experience you have gained.
Skills development is never a waste of time, and is indicative of intangible yet very desirable qualities that employers seek in young employees.

5: Entrepreneurial Ventures

If you have identified natural entrepreneurial qualities within yourself, a gap year could be used to pursue some entrepreneurial ventures! You could save up some capital, identify a need in your community and attempt to fill that need by starting a small business!

We at Affirmative Portfolios want to provide you with high-quality recruitment services. You can contact us if you have a position that requires a talented individual, or send us your CV to be added to your database of candidates!