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Working, volunteering or travelling in the UK can have the same benefits as going abroad and will probably cost less
With the current competition for graduate jobs, work experience which is relevant to a chosen career can be a very productive way to spend your gap year and boost your CV. Bear in mind that time out needs to be planned, otherwise you may spend all year in an unchallenging job and not gain any new skills.
For some or all of your gap year, you may wish to take a paid job in order to gain skills and experience to enhance your CV, fund time for travelling or volunteering, or help pay off student debt.
The kinds of work you could try include:
To find jobs and work experience opportunities, search graduate jobs.
You could sign on with employment or recruitment agencies for temporary work. The advantages are:
If you are interested in office work you may wish to do a fast-track or flexible course to gain certification for office or IT skills before approaching recruitment agencies. Further education colleges and business skills training centres offer suitable courses for gap year students.
A directory of recruitment agencies in specific employment sectors and regions of the UK is available from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) .
Those on sandwich courses at university will have a work placement organised by their university but it is also possible to organise your own placement - see The Year in Industry .
Step offers 'Step into Industry', 6 to 12-month placements for undergraduates.
Internships offer work experience in a specific role and can lead to permanent work. They are largely unpaid, although minimal travel and other expenses may be covered, so you must consider how you will support yourself financially.
Step offers 'Graduate Step', two to three-month internships for recent graduates across a variety of areas.
For further details on internships and other ideas for work experience in the UK, see types of work experience.
As with volunteering abroad, voluntary work at home has numerous benefits. For example, it may:
You can find your own voluntary work with charities or not-for-profit organisations, or use gap year organisations to help you find opportunities.
Make sure the charities you are interested in are formally registered by checking with Charity Commission for England and Wales .
Gap year websites often have the option to search for ways to spend part of a gap year in the UK, including jobs, work placements and short courses. See Gap Year Directory , for example.
University volunteer schemes are a good source of unpaid work experience opportunities and some offer bursaries in return for feedback of your experiences.
For further information, see volunteering.
Although the idea of a gap year may conjure up images of far-flung destinations and exotic beaches, spending some time travelling within the UK is a good alternative for graduates looking to take some time out.
Travelling close to home has some distinct advantages, such as:
For ideas and information on travelling in the UK, including budget hostels and university campus accommodation, go to VisitBritain .
For hostels, see:
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