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Vocational Education Research

Gap years encourage students into further education

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The report concluded that a post-school break from study was probably likelier to encourage people into further education than turn them off the idea.

University of Newcastle student Joshua McLarty said his gap year in southern Africa and New Guinea had strengthened his long-held aspiration to be a doctor. "Seeing the situation of people living in those areas really made me want to work in a place like that," he told a National Centre for Vocational Education Research forum in Sydney.

More young students are taking gap years before going to university and spend that time working or in further study, according to a new report from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

The figures show that 24% of young students took a gap year in the period 2009-10, an increase from 10% in the ten years since 1999-2000.

Most gap-takers worked either part-time (28%) or full-time (23%), while others studied for a non-university qualification (10%) or travelled (6%).

“This research shows that a gap year is not just a year of fun and frivolity, but time many students take to refine their study or career goals and support the next stage of their life,” said Dr Tom Karmel, Managing Director, NCVER.

“Those who continued to study did a vocational education and training (VET) qualification or school subjects to improve their tertiary entrance rank (TER) score.

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