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Six Awesome Gap Year Programs That Lead to Paid Work

Written by The Leap on 17 / 03 / 2016

Gap Year Advice

School’s almost up and you’re so close to completing those darn exams that it’s making you feel all anxious (a feeling I remember well) about the next few months. First, there are worries about whether you’ll get the grades you want or not, then there’s that constant voice in your head saying ‘what now?’

I know for many of you, getting a job and earning some money is probably the number one priority. But that doesn’t mean you have to enter the serious, scary working world just yet.

Instead, why not consider taking a gap year and combining a productive course with a bit of travel? Below I’ve listed six ideas for gap year courses that lead to jobs, which include cooking, sailing and teaching - amongst other things.

Find Paid Work in Australia

A Day In The Life: Outback Adventurer from Ellenor Argyropoulos on Vimeo.


Australia: it’s hot, sunny and many miles from home, making it sound like the perfect gap year destination. Plus, the people there are extremely friendly and they like to work (and party) very hard.

Although it’s top of the list for many travellers, the land of opportunity is clamping down on people entering the country and snapping up jobs, with even the form filling and admin that’s involved proving highly testing.

But fret not, for The Leap has a 5-week program in Australia that helps get you set up with bank cards, tax file numbers, medical care and all that other important stuff, then provides you with the option to start work immediately or explore the country’s highlights first.

From a 4x4 safari on Fraser Island, to sailing around the Whitsundays, to scuba diving over the Great Barrier Reef, this program enables you to get plenty of travel in before you knuckle down and begin your new job.

Teach Around the World With TEFL

Teaching English abroad is a great way to see the world and earn money as you do so. For this reason, TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) courses have become extremely popular amongst young people looking to travel before and after university, as well as older people who want to earn money on the road.

Check out the video belowto see a day in the life of a teacher abroad to get an idea of what you could be doing. In fact the narrator Alex Stevenson actually travelled to 7 countries, teaching English for 2 years, so it really can help you to see the world!


There are plenty of opportunities for native English speakers to teach their language around the world, making it a great skill to be able to use as part of your gap year. If this sounds like it's of interest, check out The Essential Guide to Teaching English Abroad - a no-frills roadmap to help you get started.

Join a Ski Instructor Course


How do you like the sound of flying down snowy slopes in dazzling mountainous areas? Perhaps you’ve already been there, done that, in which case now’s the time to learn how to share the joy of skiing with those who are new to the sport.

As a bonus, most resorts have a great a great après-ski vibe, meaning you’ll have the chance to relax and party at the end of each day too - woohoo!

Does this sound like you? Why join one of the world’s best ski instructor courses? 11 Weeks in France: Ski Instructor Course + Tignes + Heliskiing 11 weeks training as a ski instructor in Tignes, in the beautiful Rhône-Alpes region of France.

I'm Interested, Tell Me More!

Get Your Yachtmaster Certificate


Any avid sailor will know that a RYA Yachtmaster certificate is recognised and respected worldwide, making it the ultimate aim of many skippers. Getting one would be a brilliant way to kickstart your gap year.

After a few weeks of professional training in the UK or Australia, which combines travel with sailing education and teamwork, you can expect to be qualified at a level where people will start paying you to go sailing.

Besides, you’ll get to add some impressive qualifications to your CV or resume. To find courses both here and abroad, have a look on Flying Fish Online.

Become An Expedition Leader in the Jungle




Do you fancy yourself as a bit of a Bruce Parry or Bear Grylls type? Would you willingly take on the challenge of leading groups of people on tough expeditions overseas? If so, then The Leap’s Expedition Leader Training Course is the one for you.

Over sixteen weeks you’ll learn key survival, leadership and management skills, first in the Welsh mountains, then in jungle of Costa Rica. It’s a practical course, which includes navigation, incident management, river rescue and medical training, with the aim of improving your leadership and management skills in the world’s most testing environments.

Those who pass with flying colours will then be offered an expedition leader job with a prestigious overseas expedition organisation.

Cook Up a Storm With Leiths


Anyone that loves cooking and can envision themselves preparing dinners for dollars should consider attending a cookery school, such as Leiths School of Food and Wine which offers fun, informal classes as well as professional courses.

Leiths provides a diploma course and four certificate courses, which are well-recognised qualifications in the catering business and lead to career opportunities such as catering work, freelance cooking, recipe writing and overseas work like cooking in chalets, sporting lodges and boats.

Alternatively, The Telegraph has put together a list of the Top 10 Cookery Schools so there are plenty of options to choose from!

Many people that have taken these courses in the past have gone on to run their own food businesses too - even the Duchess of Cambridge has been – so what are you waiting for?!

Ready to Go?

If you like the look of one or more of these courses, then be sure to consider them for your gap year, or if you have any questions don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

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Check out our gap year programs

We have award winning programs across Africa, Asia, South and Central America. All include a mix of projects and adventures. All are supported. All involve team work.

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