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Year in Industry - Money and Gap Years

Date added: Wednesday 25th November 2015

by Chris Ward, National Director, The Year in Industry

Students thinking about gap years in 2016 have to be much more pragmatic than they were ten years ago as the cost of degrees leave students with sizeable debts which will need substantive careers to repay. More than ever students are using “return on investment” assessments when they plan their degrees, their careers and yes, their gap years. In this context working gap years like The Year in Industry have a considerable amount to offer.

Getting paid on your year out? For many years gap years have typically been associated with major withdrawals from the bank of Mum & Dad though fundraising for some programmes is also typical. The idea of earning a decent salary during a year out is therefore a novel concept for many to get their heads around. However, The Year in Industry is a job, you are interviewed for it like a job, and you are paid for it like a job.

The roles involved are typically project and problem solving based, you are treated like a trainee manager and have the opportunity to explore just what working in a commercial enterprise is like. You can find the sort of company you want to work with, from big global companies like Rolls-Royce, Eon and Centrica to smaller consultancies and specialist businesses. You can choose the sort of role you would like to undertake from traditional engineering, science or IT project work through to e-commerce, business, marketing, finance and logistics.

You can find a paid project based year out that is just right for you.

Improving your degree through a year out? All those who emerge from a Year in Industry say that it gives them an entirely new perspective on their degree. It gives them vital insights into the areas of particular courses which interest them, the particular modules they might pursue, and the time and project management skills that they have learned enables them to work more effectively in the university environment than they otherwise would. Some students even change their degree choice entirely, sometimes because they have found a particular subject less interesting than they thought, but most often because they have discovered another subject area which has really grabbed their interest and on which they want to base their careers.

Getting a better career because of your year out? The Year in Industry is the longest running and the exemplar work placement programme involving most of the biggest names in British industrial excellence. The skills that gap year students learn during their year in industry places them head and shoulders in their experience than those who have gone straight to university. The skills they learn are both technical, such as programming or using CAD design but also the soft skills required in modern commerce, things like time management, team working and communications, project management, and presentation skills. It is these things that potential employers look for in new graduates and they know that they are learned in abundance during a Year in industry.

Can your year out help fund your degree? Over 25% of Year in Industry placement students end up agreeing some form of sponsorship arrangement for their university years with their placement companies. Many, many more arrange lucrative vacation work with the teams in which they have established their knowledge and credibility.

Return on Investment from your Year Out? In simple financial terms the return on a working gap year is a no-brainer as you are actually paid to get the experience that looks so good on your CV. Add that to the skills, technical and soft, that you are gaining and the positive returns just keep flowing. Add to that the incremental salary that you can earn after your degree as a result of having the Year in Industry on your CV and the Year in Industry is the best returning investment you are ever likely to make.