Careers Forum Webchat - Thinking of taking a gap year?

birmingham_moderator: Welcome to the 'Thinking of Taking a Gap year?' webchat

birmingham_moderator: On this very snowy day in Birmingham, are you thinking about heading overseas for a year abroad? Ask the advisers, to find out more about your options...

F*****: Hello

CN Advisor: Hi F*****

F*****: I am graduating this summer and thinking of taking a year out. I was wondering how best to utilise this time, e.g. through work experience placements, travel, or part time paid work?

CN Advisor: A year out is a long time! You will need to plan it carefully and the ideas you suggest (work experience, travel and paid work) are all excellent ways to make the most of it.

CN Advisor: What do you study F*****? Do you have any long term career ideas? You can then use your year out to make further progress in these career areas.

F*****: I am thinking of getting a job in Human Resources. What would be the best way to use a year out to help me get a job in this field?

CN Advisor: Human Resources is a vast career area and covers lots of different topics including recruitment and talent development, training, policy and disciplinary procedures. Many of the skills you'll need in HR will be around communicating with people, interpersonal skills and being a team player. Think about any past experiences you may have (and potential opportunities you could take) which showcase these skills.

F*****: Yes I study psychology

CN Advisor: If you get a full time or part time job during your year out you could try and get some supervisory experience or after you've worked there a while, you can do some training with new recruits to the job. This will help showcase your enthusiasm for HR.

CN Advisor: it’s important to think about how long you want to devote to work experience or employment and how long to other things such as travelling? Have you had any thoughts about this?

F*****: Good idea. Do you know for HR, whether a grad scheme or just a 'normal' position is better? The initial reason for my taking a year out was to join the grad scheme next September, but if i were to take up a regular position, I could start any time of the year, so it wouldn’t need to be a full year out. Do you know which is more beneficial? As for travelling I do not have big aims but would like to take perhaps a summer out if I had the money, it would not need to be a lengthy expedition

CN Advisor: If you are interested in being a business adviser/manager in a HR role then graduate schemes are a good way (but not the only way) to gain this experience in often large commercial organisations. Another benefit of getting a grad scheme is that they may be able to fund any additional training like a CIPD qualification (This could also be self funded).

CN Advisor: Getting 'regular' employment can also be a great way to gain experience, confidence and contacts. This is the Prospects website which outlines an HR officer role and responsibilities HR officer job description use the Employers and vacancy tab to find out where jobs are advertised.

CN Advisor: Hi F*****,

I am Dashi Alpion, one of the other Careers Advisers on chat today. Following on from my colleague’s advice, it might be useful for you to think about graduate internships as a way of doing some relevant HR work. These internships are usually 1 year long and can help you build on your experience and some of the skills mentioned earlier. You can also have time to think about which graduate schemes to apply for next year.

Have a look at opportunities advertised via our website: Careers Connect

I are looking to stay in the West Midlands?

F*****: That's a good point. In your experience, what is the likelihood of a non-grad scheme employer (such as an SME or local council HR dept) funding a CIPD qualification?

CN Advisor: It's not as likely but it’s not impossible. If you are able to put a case forward as to how this will benefit you as an employee and them as organisation, you may be able to persuade them it’s a good idea to fund it. It’s important to note that the qual may take longer than a year so it’s unlikely that you would get funding from an employer if you are on a short term or temporary contract.

F*****: I see. What about if I just got a regular say 9-5 job in an HR department, do such employees get to do their CIPD through the company? Or is it mainly graduate schemes which offer this?

CN Advisor: Yes some employers may sponsor you to gain the CIPD qualification, not just graduate schemes. It's more likely if you have been with them a little while and can build a case as to how it will benefit both you and them.

F*****: Hi. Is a graduate internship the same as a grad scheme or is it different? And I live in the East Midlands so would be looking there to be honest

CN Advisor: The graduate internships are for one year only and most of them are paid. We advertise them on our website. During this year you can build on your skills and experience to make your application to the HR graduate schemes stronger next year. Would you like to meet with a Careers Adviser to discuss in detail career opportunities within HR as well as identify some employers in East Midlands?

T****: I want to go abroad when I graduate to take a gap year and use my languages that I have studied while at uni. A lot of the gap years that are advertised seem very expensive. What is the best option for me?

CN Advisor: Hi T****, I'm Jo, one of the careers adviser on today’s webchat. The Prospects website has Country profiles Prospects country profiles which give information about finding work in those countries. Another factor to think about will be visas and if you can get a work visa, have a look at Anywork Anywhere for more information

birmingham_moderator: Hi T****, a gap year can be a great way to develop new skills and to use the languages that you have learnt. It can be expensive. Some gap year organisations charge a set price that will include their support before you go and while you are abroad. What is included will vary and you should always check. There are lots of options to 'go it alone' and you can use websites and contacts to find other opportunities.

F*****: Thank you. I have to go now for a lecture but are there any other opportunities for live chat about a year out?

CN Advisor: This is the only webchat focusing on years out but there are others that focus more on job searches and one about graduate internships on Wed 13th Feb at 11am. You can also book to see a careers adviser face to face via Careers Network

birmingham_moderator: Thanks for taking part F*****, have a great lecture. Does anyone else have a question?

F*****: Would I be able to do this through a regular careers advisor 20 minute appointment?

CN Advisor: Yes, book a 20 minute app and you can speak to an adviser about any of the things we chatted about today and more!

CN Advisor: Hi T****,

Do you know where would you like to go? One way of using your language skills would be to join the English Language Assistant programme which places people in 14 countries around the world.

Check out the British Council website for more details: English Language Assistants

F*****: Thank you!

CN Advisor: Great, see you soon and good luck!

T****: I speak Spanish and French and would like to go out of Europe to South America or Africa. Thanks, I'll look at their website - do they go to the places I am interested in? Do I need a TEFL qualification to be an English Language Assistant?

CN Advisor: You can go to Latin America through this programme and you do not need a TEFL qualification to join the British Council as a Language Assistant.

For other opportunities including opportunities in Africa, please check the prospects website: Gap year opportunities

T****: Great, I have to go now but will have a look at the websites. Thanks for your help. T****

CN Advisor: Good luck, T****. You can always book an appointment to see an Advisor to explore more options.

birmingham_moderator: We have half an hour to go on our webchat about 'Taking a Gap Year' are there any more questions?

birmingham_moderator: Thank-you to all who took part in our webchat - I hope you found it useful

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