Matric students all over South Africa will be gearing up to write their final exams, some of whom might not even know what they want to do with themselves from 2018.

Are you one of those undecided few?

The gap year has almost become a rite of passage, where scholars spend a year traveling, volunteering, and enjoying their only taste of freedom before joining the nation’s workforce.

Here’s a question…

Could taking a gap year hurt your chances of finding your dream job when you return?

The simple answer is yes – the complex answer is provided below:

Get Ahead of the Crowd

You’ve seen the job listings: the ideal candidate will have just left school, but have 3 years’ experience in the industry.

How is this even possible, right? How can one have experience in a field when you’ve just been sitting in a classroom for 12 years?

Experience is almost as important as qualification these days, and the sooner you can get experience in your desired vocational industry, the better.

By getting a year’s worth of work experience while your buddies are far-flung, you’ll have a whole year of work experience that they won’t have – which means that when it comes time to landing your dream job, you’ll be the preferred candidate out of your peers.

Get a Bursary

Want the government or a large corporation to pay for your studies?

Easy! Don’t take a gap year.

Companies like Sasol and Eskom offer bursaries to matriculants, which often cover your study fees so your parents can buy that yacht they’ve always wanted with your varsity fund.

Here’s the catch:

You’ll have to start studying directly after school (no gap year).

Here’s the MAIN benefit:

When your studies are done, you’ll have to work for the company that gave you the bursary for at least 2 – 3 years. While some might see this as a drag, think about it this way:

You won’t have to search for a job after completing your studies (guaranteed income).

You Can Travel When You’re Settled

Seriously, people put too much pressure on young people these days.

You’ve heard your family: “Travel when you’re young! When you have the chance!”

The truth is that traveling has become easier and easier thanks to more competition amongst air travel companies and tourist travel organisers.

This means that you won’t have to save up for long to take an overseas trip during a December break when your company shuts down.

If you’re really keen on travelling, you’ll make a plan regardless of how old you are or whether you’re working or not.

It’s Become a Cliché

What’s the first thing people ask you when you tell them you’re in matric?

“Are you taking a gap year?”

You can almost predict the question before it is asked, but why do people ask it?

Because taking a gap year has become a cliché. When people think of a gap year, they imagine one of two scenarios:

A group of matriculants in over-baggie hippie pants with Elton John glasses walking the streets of Nepal barefoot with partially dreadlocked hair,


An 18-year old sitting on a couch with a gaming controller in hand, surrounded by chip packets and empty pizza boxes.

Why not break the mould and get your professional life going with a foot in the door at a company that can make your career dreams come true?