Thu, 30 Mar 2017

Gap Year IDEAS

To have a look at some great ideas for what to do with your gap year, see IDEAS

FIND a Placement!

Placement Type

Time of Life

Gap Year SHOP

Search for gap year suppliers of flights, insurance, accommodation and much more...

Gap Year TALKS

For an impartial gap year talk at a school, college or an exhibition, see TALKS

Regulation

  

Companies providing gap year experiences either in the UK or overseas are not governed by any specific regulations over and above those that apply to any other travel organisations.  The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website has travel advice pages which should be used to check if there are any reasons why you might choose not to travel to a particular country or region, and any precautions you would be recommended to take. 
 
A new British standard BS 8848 for the provision of visits, fieldwork, expeditions and adventurous activities outside the UK was published in 2007.  This standard focuses on good safety management procedures and the Royal Geographical Society is working with many gap year providers to implement its provisions. Check whether an organisation is compliant British Standard 8848, and if not to ask them why not. 
 
The Year Out Group, an association of gap year providers, has created a Code of Practice for its members and a list of questions advisors and students might ask of an organisation they are thinking of using. 
 
It is vital that  you  check out thoroughly any organisation you will be involved in, always ask for contacts of returned ‘gappers’, bear in mind value for money and the impact on local communities of your presence. Your safety is paramount - prepare for the worst and expect the best. Remember, gap year activities are often, by their very nature, challenging and overcoming difficulties yourself is part of the challenge. Whilst you would not expect the same standards as found on a five star package holidays, you should expect to be provided with what you were promised and any reputable company should adhere to its promises.  
 
You could ask an organisation to see its Code of Practice, which might include:
  • Terms and conditions
  • Transparent publicity material
  • Annual accounts & financial security
  • Crisis and risk policy
  • Safety and support whilst on the placement
  • Checking and monitoring of all placements
  • Sound preparation prior to, support during and debriefing after the placement
  • Public liability insurance
  • Equal opportunities
  • An ethical code covering:
    • The effect on the local communities
    • Respecting local customs and cultures
    • The sustainability of the projects you are involved in
    • Conservation of the environment
  • A complaints procedure
  • A Quality Assurance framework to underpin all aspects ie what systems does the organization have in place to check that its service is meeting your expectations?
  
'BSI 8848, 23 April 2007, Press Release. Safer adventure holidays and field trips for British abroad.'

Whether exploring the Amazon, attempting to scale Mount Everest or taking part in a gap year in Africa, a new British Standard has been launched today (23 Apr 07) at the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) in response to increased calls to make overseas adventure activities safer. The British Standards Institution (BSI) has published BS 8848: A Specification for adventurous activities, expeditions, visits and fieldwork outside the UK. The new BSI standard has been developed for adventurous activities abroad with the aim of reducing the risk of injury or illness. It specifies requirements that have to be met by an organiser of adventurous trips conforming to good practice. It is aimed at expedition organisers, universities and other organisers of field trips, gap year travel companies and providers of adventurous holidays.
See http://www.bsi-global.com/en/About-BSI/News-Room/BSI-News-Content/General/News-Content/ for more details.  

  
Review of Gap Year Provision for the Department for Education and Skills, 2004

8.1.1  Key Points on Quality Assurance in provision

  • No sector wide QA currently occurs in the gap year providing sector
  • A small number of the larger providers have developed a code of practice and are developing QA measures
  • The large number of small providers combined with the diversity of gap year activities does present considerable difficulty in terms of developing common standards of quality assurance.

See http://www.dfes.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/RB555.pdf for more details.

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