Taking a gap year is not a bad idea

2018-01-19 06:00

AS enticing as the idea of whisking off to tertiary institutions and pursuing career specific education along with all the fatuous endeavours of the adolescence may be, taking a gap year is not a bad idea, say experts.

According to local youth development organisation Phumlani M Foundation founder Phumlani Mzobe taking a gap year after matric is advisable, especially if pupils did not receive adequate career planning and guidance during their high school years.

“It is no use rushing and studying courses you don’t even know anything about just
because you want to see yourself in university. A gap year can provide opportunity
for research and introspection,” said Mzobe.

During the gap year pupils can volunteer in firms or companies that specialise in what they think they want to do he said.

Pupils can also spend time giving back through NGOs dealing with various community development initiatives.

“This will ensure they sharpen their communication skills, they reman relevant and fully understand different disciplines of

“In volunteering they will also learn people skills and organisational administration,” said Mzobe, adding that these organisations would also afford them access to resources they can use to further research prospective career paths preparing them for their next big step.

Also, according to the president of the South Coast Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vijay Naidoo skills acquired from voluntary and other learnership programmes undertaken during a gap year would equip pupils with the attractive qualities for their future employers.

“It must be noted that many employers are placing increasing emphasis on soft skills such as inter-personal relationships, empathy and nurturing, ethical behaviour and teamwork and many of these can be acquired through volunteering,” said Naidoo, adding that those with commercial interest could benefit from shadowing people in the careers they are interested in.

Naidoo, however, explained that taking a gap year should be a decision taken under informed advisory and guidance.

“The concept of a gap year has gained popularity recently, but is not always the best option for all school leavers.

“Some children do better maintaining the momentum that took them through to their final year of schooling straight into further education and struggle to regain the drive to return to formal education if they take a break,” said Naidoo.

“In cases where the child is not entirely clear on a career path, some time off for
research and introspection might be

“It must be stressed that whatever decision is chosen, it is done in a measured and consultative manner with knowledgeable advisors assisting,” said Naidoo.


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