2 Aug 2009

UK graduates to be paid for gap-year travel

8:51 am on 2 August 2009

The British government is to pay for graduates struggling to get a job, to go on trips abroad.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said the scheme will be launched with expedition company Raleigh International next week.

It will pay for 500 young people under the age of 24 to travel to places such as Costa Rica and India to take part in projects such as building schools.

The BBC reports graduates face an increasingly tough job market. According to a study by the Association of Graduate Recruiters, 48 graduates are chasing every job on offer.

The 10-week expeditions - to Borneo, India, Costa Rica and Nicaragua - will enable graduates to work on community and environmental volunteering projects in remote communities.

Higher Education Minister David Lammy said volunteering would help new graduates develop "the communication and leadership skills that are so highly valued in the workplace".

He said the government was giving Raleigh £500,000 to support graduates "who otherwise could not afford to go."

According to The Times, graduates must raise £1000, buy their own flights and cover the cost of vaccinations to be eligible.

Applicants will have to prove an overseas expedition would be beyond their means without the bursary.

Raleigh expeditions usually cost about £3,000 per person.