Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

How to Fill That Gap around Work; GAP Years Are Fast Becoming a Popular Way to Spend the Year before University or the Year after. CHRIS HOLE Looks at the Benefits of a Break

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

How to Fill That Gap around Work; GAP Years Are Fast Becoming a Popular Way to Spend the Year before University or the Year after. CHRIS HOLE Looks at the Benefits of a Break

Article excerpt

HUGE increases in tuition fees are creating a stampede for university places this summer. With many institutions set to charge pounds 9,000 a year from next September, potential students are rushing to find a place this year and avoid the new inflated fees.

A typical degree course at Teesside University, for example, will cost pounds 8,500 from next year.

Experts believe the new fees could leave around 220,000 disappointed applicants without a university place - with many forced to take gap years and others having to work to save up money before university.

Nowadays, there is also a growing trend for graduates to take a gap year before embarking on their chosen career path.

In a cut-throat job market with few opportunities available it has become an opportunity for many to add weight to their CVs with work and life experience.

Some work abroad, others travel, and some stay in the UK. But gap years are now seen by many as a positive move.

Graduate Rebecca Baker, from Stockton, is currently teaching in an all-girls High School, in Daegu, South Korea.

"The idea of packing up all your things and moving to another country may seem very daunting," the 22-year-old said.

"But there are such good support systems around you that you will quickly settle in.

"I'm able to experience a totally different culture with different people and places, while making money.

"I''ll probably never get the chance to do something like this again so I may as well do it now before I settle into a career back in the UK."

Another Teessider with a slightly different gap year experience is Jo Fairfield, from Billingham.

"After art college I wanted to continue studying but didn't know what to do," the 27-year-old said.

"I went to New Zealand for a year and then was going to come home and go to university - but found it to be amazing.

"I stayed there for nearly three years and then I came home for nine months before going back to Australia for nearly a year. …

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