A UK Gap Year

When researching into what to do in a gap year, most of the opportunities seem to be on the other side of the world. I would like to show you that not everyone has to travel far, far away to have an enriching gap year that makes you soak up every little bit of time you have away from education. It was a little tricky to find UK gap year options but I was able to. In this post, I will be sharing with you a few companies that I have found that offer gap year opportunities in the UK and firstly, I will start with outdoor adventure opportunities as they were the easiest to find:

BF Adventure is an activity centre based in Penryn, Cornwall (the south west of the UK) that not only offer volunteering opportunities but also apprenticeships. They offer experiences and programmes including NCS, school residentials, military based team days and many more.

Becoming a volunteer is amazing as you meet new people and also have an exciting job as no day will be the same. If you are worrying about affording to volunteer, then don’t worry as BF Adventure offer to pay for travel expenses at 45p per mile and up to £11.50 per volunteer day and they ask you to commit to a minimum of 6 weeks.

Volunteers play a key role in working alongside instructors with a variety of groups and programmes aiming to engage 14 – 19 year olds in further learning, as well as school holiday activities and curriculum days.

The sections that you can volunteer within are group support, bank group support, ground/ environmental/ maintenance work, driving and fundraising.

You can apply here: http://www.bfadventure.org/charity/volunteers-2/

They do also have an apprentice programme where you can train to be an outdoor instructor. You would be working 35 hours a week (including weekends and evenings) and you must be 18 years old to apply. You must not hold an NVQ level 2 or Higher Education qualification at foundation level or above. There is no fee to do the apprenticeship but you are required to get a few certificates before you start which do come at an expense. You do get an unbelievable amount of experience from this apprenticeship and you also have the option afterwards to continue there and carry on to reach a higher level. It is certainly something to think about if you are interested as you can always do the apprenticeship for a year and if you like it that much, you wouldn’t need to go to university afterwards as you would have a job waiting for you at the end.

You can read all about it and apply here.

Beaudesert Outdoor Activity Centre also offers gap year volunteering opportunities and apprenticeships in the outdoor activity field. Unlike BF Adventure, they offer gap year students accommodation to stay in on site and even supply meals for them. There is no set job role for the volunteers as you help out where ever needs your attention. I think this is probably better as you will learn such a wide range of skills and have a wide variety of work experience.

They do also offer an apprenticeship that is run in conjunction with 1st2achieve training. Most apprentices that complete the scheme go on to have a career in the industry and it has proved to be a very successful path to follow as some are now in senior instructor roles. If it sounds like something that you would like to read into them you can here.

Similarly, to the two options above, you have Walesby Forest Outdoor Adventure Activity Centre based in Nottinghamshire who have apprenticeships that they run in conjunction with Loughborough college. They started in January but may well be running again next year. Details are here.

All of the places mentioned above were contacted by me and replied allowing me to mention them in this post. I did find other companies as well as these so if you want to do something similar but aren’t able to do these then there are plenty more. I found this website www.bestgapyear.co.uk/gap-year-uk which led me to all 3 of these options here. The website does also let you see gap year opportunities around the world as well so that you can read a little bit about them to see if it may be for you.

Secondly, I would like to talk about teaching opportunities:

So, as some of you may know, I am currently working as a tutor in my gap year with a company called Yipiyap, who are an in school tutoring agency for gap year students based in Altrincham. Yipiyap is the first of its kind as there isn’t a single company that does the same in the UK. You don’t have to be a genius with straight A*’s to work as a tutor, you just have to love your subject, have that little spark in your eye and the want to help pupils excel in school and you’re off.

So, how does it work? Normally, gap year students start at a school in the beginning of the academic year to ensure that they can benefit the pupils that they work with the most. But, if you are like me and found the company half way through the year, that is absolutely fine. I started at the beginning of this month! The main subjects that you could be tutoring are Maths, English and Science but you wouldn’t have to do do them all (so if you weren’t able to ever get your head around Maths but you have an amazing way with words, you can be just an English tutor). But, if you are like me and seem to always be the odd one out, your school may want you to help out in other subject areas (obviously only if you are up for it. You won’t get forced to randomly be amazing at art or something.) You do however need to consider that this is an academic year’s placement. If you are thinking about going abroad for half of your year, then maybe this isn’t for you. If you are going to be helping pupils, then you can’t make a mad dash for the door just when they start to trust you or when they are about to take their exams and need that final push. You have to remember though that you do still get school holidays and you may not be working 5 days a week either so don’t worry about suddenly being dropped into a full time job. Just consider what you want to do with your year before jumping in.
Unlike most gap year opportunities, you do actually get paid for being a tutor as well as have lovely little events with other tutors. As I started late, I missed some of the earlier events but I hear that they were amazing as you met other tutors in similar positions as you. There have been movie nights and skipathons as well as charity events and there is a “Fit for Future” event coming up soon. They really do take care of their tutors.
If it sounds like something you would like to read into then you can have a look at their website [here.]
Yipiyap is forever growing and is starting to recruit tutors from different pockets of the country so you are more and more likely to be able to work with them. If you are unsure, you can always contact them as they are lovely people who genuinely want to help make your gap year worthwhile!

If you want a different teaching opportunity, there are many volunteering companies that go into school to help children with the basics (i.e. Maths and English). I know that there is one near me but I have done some research and I have found multiple around the country.

If none of this is for you then there are plenty more options out there, they just require a little bit more digging to be discovered. As I say, it took me 5 months to discover Yipiyap and here I am now working at a high school as a tutor for the next few months. I suggest trying to plan your gap year now as places to fill up very fast and knowing what you are doing also relaxes you. On the other hand, you don’t have to have a set layout for your gap year. There are many different ways that people decide to spend their gap year and you can always do your own thing too. I mean, here I am: I started a blog, created my own product range with my mum, quit the job I have had for over 2 years and had 2 months off and then started as a tutor for the rest of it. I couldn’t have predicted that if I tried.

Also, a little mention about my giveaway: congratulations to Claudia who won my positive bundle. Claudia actually has her own blog and YouTube channel and I will link them here if you would like to have a look:

Blog: claudiagilchriest.blogspot.co.uk

YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/claudiagilchriest


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