Careers Service

Taking Time Out

Taking Time Out

Taking time out, or a gap year, is a great way to gain experience before entering employment or further study. However there are many factors you'll need to consider. We've provided some of the pros and cons of taking time out and listed some resources to help you plan.

Deciding if taking time out is right for you

There are a number of options available for taking time out, including:

  • voluntary work in the UK or overseas
  • travel and/or work overseas
  • learning a language abroad
  • paid work in non-graduate level jobs in the UK, including temping
  • working in development and education

Before deciding whether to take time out, you should consider the pros and cons.


There are many advantages to taking time out. You could gain:

  • valuable experience – employment, skills, knowledge
  • skills such as problem-solving, resilience, initiative, determination, communication
  • time and/or experiences to help clarify career choices and preferences
  • cultural awareness with international travel
  • foreign language skills
  • developed self awareness and greater maturity


There are also several drawbacks, such as:

  • additional debts – it can be expensive
  • missing out on annual graduate recruitment schemes
  • not making the most of your experience or potential
  • frustration – finding work overseas can be difficult
  • working on minimum wage or in an undemanding or boring role

Further help

Use the Prospects website to think about whether a gap year is right for you.

Planning your time out

If you decide taking time out is right for you, it's crucial to plan your time effectively.

If you have any questions about taking time out or need help to find opportunities, book an online appointment or contact us via MyCareer