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Gap year after uni

(17 Posts)
Inacountrygarden Sat 12-Mar-16 08:55:41

DS will be graduating in this summer and wants to have a gap year, working initially to save up then travelling. I am concerned that he will be at a disadvantage when he applies for graduate schemes for 2017/18 start.
As he wont be coming straight from University, will he still be eligible to apply and if so, would he be disadvantaged?
He isn't planning anything particularly to enhance his CV, he just wants to travel.

whatwouldrondo Sat 12-Mar-16 11:46:28

It would be more likely to advantage him. Lots of graduates take a gap year after uni now, indeed take time out of careers to travel. Most employers would value that greater maturity, experience and the life skills it has given them. I know someone who has been taken on deferred for a year after an internship with one of the big 4 and they were very enthusiastic about his plans and suggested he work for them to earn the money for his travels. And when we chatted to someone in advertising at a careers fair they actually suggested a year out travelling before applying, something she and many colleagues had done, because it makes you a more interesting candidate - not to mention person. It's the level of your degree which qualifies you for a graduate recruitment scheme, not when you got it!

bojorojo Sat 12-Mar-16 14:03:34

You can apply at any stage but I would beg to differ about the contents of the gap year. "Finding yourself" in Bali or Brazil is of limited interest to employers. Loads and loads of students do this. I would advocate that doing something to add to his cv regarding improving his employability skills would be better. Plus a bit of travelling. Grad schemes like people who have done internships, volunteering at something relevant, working in a relevant industry and someone who can converse and demonstrate their ability to be suitable for training. Working in a low level job and travelling is not bad, but he could do so much better. What type of grad scheme does he want? Look at what would really boost his cv.

bojorojo Sat 12-Mar-16 14:06:38

Also, don't forget he will be competing against people with Masters degrees who have not travelled in the year between undergrad and employment. He must be able to compete against them.

littleblackno Sat 12-Mar-16 14:13:24

He has a long career ahead of him (getting longer by the day of pension reports are to go by) I'd say let him take the time out to travel and enjoy it before he has huge commitments. I took a gap year (which lasted 4 years- I worked and funded it myself). I have since had a great career which has been affected far more by having children than any time off in my teens/early 20s.

mouldycheesefan Sat 12-Mar-16 14:14:23

I think the issue could be that once you have graduated you may not have access to the uni careers service and the associated milk round etc so could potentially be at a disadvantage
. .it may be that the uni careers service is ipen to rthe cent grads as well as current students but do check.
Of course the option to secure a job but ask to defer it for a year to do a gap year is preferable.
Other issue is how will th gap year be funded, bank of mum and dad?
I have recruited thousands of people and I am always more inter step in relevant experience than gap years travelling however I do not specifically recruit graduates.
Good luck to your son whatever he decides to do.

Dellarobia Sat 12-Mar-16 14:17:14

I don't think he'd be at a significant disadvantage, as long as he's got a good CV generally. But he will miss out on the help and support he could get from the uni careers service.

Ughnotagain Sat 12-Mar-16 14:34:50

What bojorojo said. I really doubt an employer is going to be interested in the fact someone has been on holiday for a year.

2rebecca Sat 12-Mar-16 16:16:34

He may be at a disadvantage when it comes to certain things but on the other hand if he doesn't take a year out now when will he get to do it? Some careers have an obvious time when you can do other stuff for a year or 2 where as in other careers once you've started the rat race there is no easy way out. My son is currently talking about doing kayaking and kayak instructing for a few years after his engineering masters. Yes it will disadvantage him if he goes back to engineering but on the other hand once he starts with a company it may be harder to just drop out for a year or two.
My engineering father worked from the time he finished his apprenticeship until he retired, my engineering husband looks like doing the same thing with the retirement age getting further away.

bojorojo Sat 12-Mar-16 18:38:24

I think the young person does, these days, has to consider if their "fun" career will actually harm them getting a job. Several years out means they are out of date with rusty skills. I have a suspicion that other fully committed graduate engineers may get the jobs. I think my DH would wonder why someone preferred kayak instructing to becoming a Chartered Engineer and query commitment. He also finds a lot of graduate engineers are not problem solvers. Getting into a job develops those skills and coming several years late to the party is no advantage. Starting salary may well be compromised too if the skills gap is larger than it should be. Training graduate engineers costs money so most firms take on those most likely to succeed, not those who, it might appear, want to do something else. So, yes, a risk.

2rebecca Sat 12-Mar-16 21:26:55

I agree, but at the moment kayaking is more of a passion than engineering. It may change by the time he finishes his degree as he's planning to do internships for years 3-5 but at the moment that's his plan.

bojorojo Sat 12-Mar-16 23:28:15

5 years to presumably do an MEng is a long slog if you would rather be doing something else. Most people do MEng undergrad in 4 years. Internships are very hard to get. Only the larger companies offer them and there are not enough to go round.

2rebecca Sat 12-Mar-16 23:56:36

Scotland they are all 5 years

2rebecca Sat 12-Mar-16 23:57:13

My son said at Strathclyde they aren't that difficult to get

whatwouldrondo Sun 13-Mar-16 09:58:12

OP I don't know what area your DC wants to work in, if he knows yet. However this article confirms my experience interviewing on the graduate recruitment round as well as the experiences of my DCs peers. targetjobs.co.uk/internships/275493-how-to-market-your-gap-year-to-graduate-employers. There really are no shortage of graduates applying on the recruitment round with the intellectual skills, but often graduates lack, or can't provide you with the evidence of personal qualities like maturity, initiative, decisiveness which employers are looking for. I am also posting the template that PWC one of the top graduate employers use in their recruitment showing the qualities they are looking for. www.pwc.co.uk/careers/student/applying/pwc-professional.html As the previous article says working in frontline customer roles or within a company and saving up and planning for a trip and making a success of a backpacking trip, often in the face of adversity will potentially help your DC develop these personal qualities and enable them to provide evidence of that to employers. It is a bit like the personal statement you complete in the UCAS process, plenty of DC will have impressive lists of accomplishments and parent funded experiences but even more so with employers it is demonstrating what you have gained from those experiences and how you made the most of them in terms of your development as a person with the skills and experience that make you employable.

Students should make maximum use of the Careers Service whilst they are at university to learn all they can about the world of work and making themselves employable, but most will still provide online support after you leave, I still have access to online career development resources and details of all their graduate recruitment opportunities from all three of the unis I have attended. Most of the major graduate recruitment nowadays sift online via psychometric and other testing so geography is less of an issue.

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER Wed 30-Mar-16 22:28:11

Provided that someone has worked and saved for their own travel, I think it's OK.

What is not OK (to me) is the kind of gap year paid for by parents, or by asking other people to 'sponsor' them, I.e. pay for them to go on a jolly.

butteredmuffin Sat 02-Apr-16 23:39:09

OP - your son will still be eligible to apply for graduate schemes. Depending on what career he wants to go into, I would have thought he'd be looking at a 2017 start at the earliest anyway. In the most competitive careers, the people who start on graduate schemes the summer after graduation were usually recruited quite early in their final year of university.

That's not to say you should panic - in all of these grad schemes there will also be people who took time out to do other things or even tried other careers first - it just means that there tends to be an annual cycle for these things and in many career paths the recruitment round for this year will already have been completed.

Your son should think about the kind of jobs he is interested in and what skills and qualities they will be looking for. If he can find someone to talk to at the companies he is interested in, so much the better. He can then look at his CV and work out what he needs to do to make himself a better candidate. Often, work experience is the key. It doesn't necessarily have to be closely related to the career you want to pursue, just something which teaches you basic workplace skills. If your son can find a temporary job doing something which is relevant to the grad schemes he wants to apply for, so much the better. If not, any kind of work experience is better than nothing.

As for taking a gap year, it won't disadvantage him at all unless he decides he likes being a beach bum so much he doesn't want to come back! (In all seriousness, when I started my first graduate job I did have quite a few moments where I was sitting in a really boring meeting thinking, "God...six weeks ago I was on a beach in India..." or standing at the photocopier thinking, "Wearing proper shoes all day is kind of a pain...") He could do something "constructive" like volunteering or learning a language if he wants to, but I don't think it's essential. He will be working for a long time and I think most people interviewing him would totally understand his wanting to take a bit of time out and travel to some exotic places before setting in to the world of work. I don't think a "gap yah" will really add anything to his CV, but I don't think it will harm his prospects of getting a good job afterwards either.

The only things I would say are firstly that he should work and save and finance the whole thing himself (as someone else has said, a "gap yah" that mummy and daddy paid for will not impress anyone), and secondly, he should just be mindful of recruitment cycles and dates for applying for particular grad schemes, as if he is away travelling when all the important stuff takes place then he will have to wait another year for the opportunity to come round again.

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