Wednesday 17 January 2018

10 best dream gap year jobs

If you're taking time out before university, don't mooch around the house for 12 months, says Pól ó Conghaile. Find work in one of these great locations

Your gap year can be plain sailing in Spain or France.
Your gap year can be plain sailing in Spain or France.

Pól ó Conghaile

Teach sailing in Spain

Your desk is a dinghy. Your office is the ocean. Yup, you're on a gap year, showing kids the ropes off the coast of southern France and Spain. PGL Travel, a UK provider of school trips and educational tours, is accepting applications for its 2010 team from October, and the position of sailing instructor is one of the best on offer. You do need a minimum Royal Yachting Association qualification (those with Irish equivalents can convert by joining the pre-season training course), but it's plain sailing from there.

Details: PGL Travel (0044 8700 551551; pays qualified RYA Dinghy Instructors £440 (€500 per month), plus free food, per month.

In the outback

Oyster Worldwide organises gap-year placements in Australia. Among the most popular are those on family-run farms, where work includes mustering cattle, fencing and driving tractors. The Aussies expect hard work and a positive attitude, of course -- one reason the placement is preceded by five days of training. In return you'll be set up with an employer for at least three to six months.

Details: Oyster Worldwide (0044 1892 770771; oyster charges £995 (€1,130) for the placement and farm training course (excl. flights). Pay is AUS$350 (€206) per week, plus your bed and board.

The girl from Ipanema

Dungarvan-based i-to-i is a "meaningful" travel specialist, offering tours, TEFL projects and volunteer placements all over the world. One of the most eye-catching is simply entitled "work experience at a surf school in Rio". Based on the white sands of Ipanema Beach, volunteers help with surf lessons, repair and maintain boards and conduct informal English lessons with local children. After that, you're free to explore the best of Brazil.

Details: I-to-i (058 40050; offers this placement at €1,295 for two weeks and €160 per week thereafter, up to a maximum of 12 weeks. Flights and visas are excluded.

Mixology in Melbourne

Melbourne is one of the coolest cities on earth. It's home to some pretty hip bars too, and needless to say, bartending jobs are rather sought-after. First step is to secure your working holiday visa and a Responsible Serving of Alcohol certificate (consumer. Then hit sites like gumtree, and for job leads. Minimum wage in Australia is AUS$16.20 (€9.54), but tips can supplement that nicely -- so be prepared to put in the legwork with CVs.

Details: Australia's Working Holiday programme ( allows people aged 18-30 to holiday in Australia and supplement their travel through employment. The visa costs AUS$230 (€135).

On the Piste

Depending on the resort, a ski instructor's earnings can be boosted substantially by tips. You can't just pitch up and teach, however. First, you need qualifications -- and they don't come cheap. Starting January 5, Base Camp Group has an 11-week instructor course in Val d'Isère, with 330 hours of back country, freestyle and race coaching culminating in BASI Instructor level 1 & 2 qualifications. From there, check sites like seasonworkers. com, and for jobs.

Details: Base Camp Group (+44 207 243-6222; basecamp charges £7,595 (€8,624) for this course. CSIA/CASI Instructor Level 1 courses in Whistler and Banff start in November from £3,295 (€3,741).

Adventure tour leader

Love to travel? Like people? Looking for a challenge? If so, you tick the boxes for the position of tour leader with Explore. The adventure travel outfit is back in the hunt for candidates this autumn, and applicants need to be able to work overseas for up to six months on fixed contracts. The job entails looking after clients, arranging activities and working with local crew and fixers, and you'll be paid a salary as well as all travel, insurance, meals, accommodation and training.

Details: Explore! (0044 844 499 0903; pays its tour leaders an average of £39.50 (€44.90) per day, or £1,185 (€1,345) per month. A £250 (€284) deposit is refunded after 16 weeks work.

Kids in Kenya

Making a difference to the lives of underprivileged children is one thing. Kicking back on Indian Ocean beaches is another. You can have both in Mombasa, however, where i-to-i has several volunteer projects geared towards rehabilitating, educating and relocating some of more than 30,000 street children in the city orphaned by HIV/Aids. The work involves teaching, playing games and basic care and assistance, and afterwards you can swim and safari to your heart's content.

Details: i-to-i (058 40050; has teaching placements starting at €1,040 for one week, and €200 per week thereafter (to a maximum of 12 weeks). Flights are excluded.

Throw in the trowel

If you're an archaeology undergraduate or an amateur fossil-hunter, the prospect of a couple of months clearing and mapping ancient sites in Romania or Peru should be right up your street. Projects Abroad has volunteer placements in both countries. In Peru, it works with the Instituto Nacional de Cultura on Inca sites in the Cuzco region, and in Romania, volunteers work with groups like the Museum of History around the medieval environs of Transylvania.

Details: Projects Abroad (085 713-8383; has Romanian digs from €1,645 for two weeks to €3,445 for three months. In Peru, prices from €2,095 to €3,095. Flights are extra.

Diving belles

In the pantheon of dream jobs, travelling the world as a scuba instructor rates pretty high. Picture it: You wake up, throw on a wetsuit and take some punters on a tour of exotic coral. And then you get paid. The PADI Instructor Development Course begins with an assistant instructor qualification, and leads to certification as a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor. After that, search for jobs on padi, or contact dive shops, resorts or boats directly, and you could be living the dream.

Details: PADI (0044 117 300 7234; instructor courses can cost from €500, and instructors can earn anything from €150 to €500 a week, depending on where divers are based.

Intern in the USA

"It's a new area that not everyone is aware of," says Caroline Joyce, founder of Cara International, the Mayo-based provider of work, study and travel programmes worldwide. She's talking about the USA Intern Work Programme, a 12-month gig that allows applicants to work in the US for a year in a field related to their studies. Applicants need to be in a full-time third-level degree course, and Joyce says most come from courses in hospitality, business studies and marketing.

Details: Cara International (094 928-9802; charges €999 to €1,599 for its internship and traineeship programmes in the US. Interns are typically paid €1,000 a month.

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