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Government To Fund Graduate Gap Years

02 Aug 2009

Government To Fund Graduate Gap Years If you are looking for a gap year job then you might be interested in a government graduate gap year scheme which will be launched next week. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has confirmed that it will make contributions towards 500 graduates’ gap years under the scheme.

The Times newspaper says that for graduates to qualify for the gap year bursary they must be under 24, raise £1000 of their own cash, pay for their own flights and fund the cost of any necessary vaccinations. Although the government will provide £500,000 in the scheme, exact figures of how much they will put down towards each individual gap year have not been released. However, a typical expedition to the likes of India, Costa Rica or Borneo would cost in the region of £3000. It is expected that the government will give further details about the gap year scheme next week.

The scheme looks ideal for graduates who aren’t looking for a paid gap year job as the applicants will give up their time to help with building schools and upgrading sanitation in isolated communities.

Some people have dismissed the gap year scheme as nothing more than a ‘headline grabber’ designed to stop graduates from taking benefits and winding up in the unemployment figures. Matthew Sinclair, research director of the Taxpayers Alliance, stating that, “It’s increasingly clear that whether it’s soft jobs in the public sector or paying for gap years, the important thing is masking the problems in the economy rather than actually delivering value for taxpayers’ money.” He went on to state that gap years should be paid for by the graduates themselves or their parents.

The director of education and employment research at the University of Buckingham agrees, “The Government doesn’t want to make available thousands of extra places at university, but is funding gap years. It’s really an extraordinary waste of money, just to bring down young people’s unemployment figures.”

Putting this into perspective though, 500 graduates would be a drop in the ocean compared to the total unemployment figures! Plus, the lucky applicants will have some great skills and experience to put on their CVs when they return.

Leaving the debate to one side, if you are looking for gap year jobs then you’ve come to the right place. Have a look at the e4s Gap Year Jobs page now to see if you can find the opening you are searching for.

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