Working Gap Year numbers bounce back but student attitudes have changed
Working gap year ‘The Year in Industry’ is reporting a big increase in applications after university fee issues pegged back demand last year. The paid gap year, run by education charity EDT, is seeing increases of over 45% in applications from pre-university students, with a core recruitment period still ahead. However, the National Director for ‘The Year in Industry’, Chris Ward reports that the high cost of university degrees is still a major factor, prompting a more focused attitude from applicants.
Ward says, "We are finding that there are three main motivators for our applicants this year, all of which reflect the tougher environment for students. The first motivation is recognition that a good degree is no longer enough and that work experience is crucial if they are to access good careers. Allied to this is an awareness that many top employers draw substantially from those students that they have seen already on work placements, internships and gap years. Many of these employers take students through ‘The Year in Industry’.
The second motivation is that students are keen to be able to win sponsorship for their degrees. Typically around a quarter of students completing ‘The Year in Industry’ attract support for their degrees from the companies they have been working with. As well as the salary that this gap year attracts, applicants are looking for this potential extra income from sponsorship or other support to help defray the cost of a degree.
The final motivation, which we are seeing particularly strongly this year, is that students want to be absolutely certain about the degree that they are applying for. Within broad subject areas there is a wide range of alternative degrees and students are making sure that they are matching their degree choice to the commercial realities they see on their working gap year. Many students decide to apply for their degree during their gap year rather than secure a deferred entry earlier on. This ensures they have some commercial insights before they make their degree choice.”
‘The Year in Industry’ are the UK's leading student placement experts providing high-quality, paid placements for students in their gap year before or during their degree course. Placements are made in all areas of engineering, science, IT, e-commerce, business, marketing, finance and logistics with over 300 top UK companies every year including National Grid, Shell, Rolls Royce, British Energy, L’Oreal, Centrica and GKN.
Ward says "We have seen a step change in the approach that students are taking to university and their future careers. They are taking a much more hard headed approach to maximising their career prospects and to ensuring they get maximum value out of their degrees. These changes have been driven by the cost of gaining a degree, a cost which they now seen as an investment on which there must be a good return.”
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