Voluntary Service Overseas says on gap years:
'A number of volunteers choose to do VSO after retirement, and we welcome applications from experienced professionals up to the age of 75. Older volunteers are valued by local employers for their patience, self-assurance and resourcefulness, as well as their professional skills.
For most jobs you’ll need to have recent work experience, or have kept up with developments in your skill sector. All volunteers, whatever their age, will be asked for medical information when they apply and if necessary will need clearance from our medical unit before they can volunteer.'
THE NEW ‘GAPPERS’ Heloise Kareem is one of a growing breed of ‘gappers’ who are way past school-leaving age. Having recently returned from four months teaching in India, she says it is time for agencies to start tailoring placements to make the most of the skills and experience that older volunteers have to offer. Gap years might usually be associated with 18-year-olds seeking adventure before settling down to further study. Increasingly, however, there are “gappers” at the other end of the age spectrum, seeking a gap between work and retirement. At 70, I am one of these – part of a new generation of retired people, who have spent most of their lives in full-time work but are still healthy and energetic and not ready to settle into a round of bridge parties and evening classes. I felt envious of the exciting things that young people were enjoying in exotic places so last year I set about exploring the opportunities for older people to volunteer abroad.
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