While 2020 might have changed your gap year plans, there are countless fun and rewarding job roles that you can do closer to home while you wait for your university to start, or for widespread travel to resume.

Whether you want to give back through volunteering or make as much money as possible, we’ve rounded up some of the best gap year jobs available on Placed and beyond.

If you want flexibility

The 9-5 is not for everyone, especially if you have other commitments or a busy social life. Thankfully, there are an increasing amount of job roles that allow you to set your own hours and schedule.

Such roles include delivery driving through companies such as Deliveroo, sales repping through companies like Avon, as well as tutoring and remote project work or testing roles. While if you prefer to work in shift patterns, put hospitality and retail roles at the top of your list. Restaurants, bars and supermarkets, for example, typically work to a roster system and will give you some kind of say in terms of the hours you work.

If you’re trying to save

Let’s be real. One of the main motivations for taking a gap year is to earn some serious money, whether you’re saving to go travelling or want a better quality of life while at university. Again, you have options…

Hospitality roles such as waiting tables and bartending are good for saving money, particularly if your customer service skills earn you tips, and often allow you to take overtime. Plus, some establishments also offer meals during your shift so you won’t be spending extra money on food. If you’re good on the phone and have strong skills of persuasion, you should consider sales or call centre roles, which are often commission-based.

If you want to meet people

Maybe what you’re going to miss about university is the chance to meet new people and socialise. Good news – there are many entry-level jobs that allow you to do just that while earning cash. Retail roles require more of a sales approach which is great if you want to put your people skills to the test.

Hospitality is another great option, as you’ll get to interact with customers and colleagues alike with socialising after shifts common.

If you want to pick up some key skills

Some things can’t be taught in a classroom. Gap year jobs are a great place to pick up some skills that you can take with you into university life and beyond.

If that is your primary motivation, seek out jobs that take you out of your comfort zone and provide a range of soft skills. A good example of this is bartending, which demands teamwork, adaptive communication, problem-solving, and conflict resolution skills. Other examples include kitchen work, nannying and retail roles.

If you want to make a difference

Many people use their gap year to volunteer in under-privileged parts of the globe. And there is no doubt that volunteering can be a rewarding and hugely valuable experience for young people, whether you choose to go abroad or not. But it’s not the only way to make a difference.

There are lots of paid opportunities that also allow you to give back, such as social and care work and mentoring schemes. Organisations that focus on social or environmental well-being can be found on sites like this one and some programmes are affiliated with universities. If you have a chosen university, it’s worth connecting with them to see what options are available through them or an affiliate.

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