Rising university fees have led to a 30 per cent rise in the number of students heading abroad to work, study and volunteer, according to new figures from STA Travel.
The youth travel specialist has seen a climb in bookings after the government introduced its top-up university fees for 2012. Many young people are now looking at alternative ways to bolster their CVs.
This also comes as universities report a drop in applications of around 10 per cent. Some universities have even seen a 40 per cent slump in applications.
STA group managing director John Constable said, “Young people have used travel to broaden their horizons for many years. However this avenue has become more formal with the majority of people booking a gap year or round-the-world trip, while looking to incorporate some sort of skill and CV-boosting activity while they’re away.”
In a bid to help young people make the most of travelling abroad, STA Travel has launched its first ‘Volunteer, Work and Learn’ programme. Programmes include, learning Spanish in Santiago, Chile; a sailing course in the Whitsundays, Australia; a Thai cooking course in Chiang Mai, Thailand; a chance to learn how to dance tango in Buenos Aires, Argentina and teaching children in Zanzibar.
These work, learn and volunteering activities now also help to boost exam grades as UCAS has launched a new Certificate of Personal Effectiveness scheme. Young people can earn points by undertaking a wide variety of activities inside and outside of formal education to help demonstrate and develop their skills.
Mr Constable added, “Taking time out of work or education to travel and broaden your horizons has long been seen as a great way of gaining a more rounded view on life and learning new skills - that this has now been formally recognised by UCAS is a great move towards widening the scope for young people taking the next step.”
STA Travel offers over 90 projects all over the world that include work in environmental conservation, working with children, animals and communities.