Fresh out of school and armed with A-level results, thousands of teenagers are considering a gap year and, according to BUNAC, are showing more interest than ever in working holidays.
General Manager, Hollie Brooks, says: “The trend towards work and travel makes perfect sense in the current climate. By choosing a working holiday, ‘gappers’ can earn a salary and pay their way in the local currency, avoiding some of the uncertainty around exchange rates following the Brexit vote, so they won’t need to worry about how far their sterling will stretch on arrival in their chosen destination.
“Since Britain is determined to look outwards, to maintain and strengthen relations with overseas partners, gaining work experience on other continents is as vital as ever. It’s a great way for young people to ensure their CV stands out from the crowd when it lands on the desk of a prospective employer.”
BUNAC, which was created to build bridges between different cultures, continues to hold those values at the core of its business and offers some ideas for a memorable gap year:
1. Work in Australia, New Zealand or Canada
Heading ‘Down Under’ or to Canada is the perfect solution for young people on a gap year, particularly first-time travellers, since there are no language barriers and the culture is similar to that of the UK.
These destinations offer a plethora of seasonal job opportunities and Australia has the added draw of a minimum wage equivalent to around £10 per hour. BUNAC offers packages such as the sociable Australia Ultimate Fun package, new farm work package Work Australia Ranch Experience and the New Zealand Ultimate Fun package.
There are also plenty of options for seasonal work in Canada, particularly in the Rockies, with its multitude of summer and winter outdoor activities. BUNAC is currently hosting Hiring Fairs in the UK for prestigious resorts like Four Seasons Whistler, Panorama and Big White, based in some of the world’s top ski destinations. Be aware, though, that working holiday visa numbers for Canada are restricted and are now beginning to run low for the current season.
2. Be a camp counsellor at Summer Camp USA
For gap students keen to include the USA in their itinerary, working as a camp counsellor on Summer Camp USA may be the answer. Aimed at those with experience of working with children, it offers the chance to spend eight to 10 weeks, starting in May or June, in the great American outdoors, building leadership skills and making new friends from around the globe, then take a road trip around the USA and see the sights.
There are no less than 2,400 camps across the USA employing 300,000 staff every summer, and BUNAC has teamed up with CIEE, the USA’s largest visa sponsor and international exchange organisation, to offer selected applicants the chance to fulfil their summer camp dream.