Gap Year Schemes (paid)

Why consider a paid gap year placement?

In today’s competitive environment, strong academic results are rarely sufficient. You are probably a high achieving student with a clutch of A*’s at GCSE and expecting A’s and A* at A ‘level. You think this is sufficient to gain you a place at a first class university. You may be right. But you need to think broader than this. Because this will not necessarily be enough when it comes to securing an internship or graduate position at a premier employer. 

“There are thousands of students who will excel in their A-levels, attend top-notch universities and pursue an impressive string of extracurricular activities. Add to this those international students who also speak several languages fluently. Without something to differentiate yourself, you will look like one of many able students.”

Stand Out

You therefore need to pull ahead early. You need to stand out from the others. You need to differentiate yourself. The one thing that employers value is work experience. However this does not include bar work, working in a shop or in a ski resort. It means working in a responsible job in a corporate environment.  

A 6-8 month work experience placement will make your CV or application form stand out from the crowd and differentiate you from others. Also the work experience and skills you will have gained will provide you with a head start at any interview, giving you lots of examples to draw from.  It will basically put you ahead of the game. All initial interviews are competency based. This means they want you to provide real examples of when you showed initiative, when you worked under pressure, when you worked in a team, etc. Being able to draw from 6 months in a working environment will provide you with superior examples of theses skills and competencies allowing you to outshine other candidates.

Gain an early advantage

In addition, if you decide you enjoy the industry and company you have worked for in your gap year, this will give you an inbuilt advantage with them when it comes to the fierce competition around summer placements and gradate roles.

"It is far less competitive to gain a gap year place with one of the leading global organisations listed,
than it is to gain a graduate role with them when there are so many more applicants per role."

In addition, the work experience advantage you will have built into your CV at 18, will give you an immediate competitive advantage in securing summer and spring internships over other candidates, which will in turn leave you better positioned for those final graduate roles. It will also provide you something substantive for your personal statement on your UCAS form and again make you look different from others, increasing your chances of securing a place at a leading university.

Who offers PAID gap year placements?

Irrespective of what you plan to study at university, any of the gap year placements listed below will be of enormous value to you, so do not worry too much about which industry they are in. They will give you invaluable long-term work experience in a corporate environment, enhancing your skills and your CV. They will also pay you very well, funding any travel plans you may have. 

Be aware that many firms will require you to complete online tests before they review your application form. Therefore it is vital you gain some practice before you attempt the real thing. Take a look HERE for advice and practice papers.



information on: ASSESSMENT CENTRES


accentureAccenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Their gap year placement scheme is called Horizons.

Salary: £12,500 for 8 months work (£18k pro rata plus £500 up front)

Length of employment: 8 months - Timing: Sept – April inclusive - Location: anywhere in the UK

Accommodation: provided if outside of London in high quality hotels or flats.

No of places: c15

There is also the opportunity if you impress, that Accenture will sponsor you for the 3 years at university providing £3000 plus soft skills training, mentor support and a possibility of a placement on their summer vacation scheme, which in turn leads to a graduate position.

Who are they looking for?

Final year A ‘level (or equivalent) students who would consider taking a gap year after their exams and are interested in business and technology. They are looking for students predicted to get 340 or more UCAS points from their top 3 A ‘levels or equivalent. This is equivalent to 2 A’s and a B.

Recruitment Process

This opens in September, when you need to submit an application form and do an online 20-min situational judgement test. The later presents you with a number of situations and a range of different responses and you are asked to select the most effective response. This is followed by a competency based telephone interview covering key skills they deem to be important in an analyst. If you pass this you will be invited to an assessment centre. This consists of a case study, a group exercise, an in-tray exercise and a final 1:1 interview. (see section on recruitment for advice)

What type of work can you expect?

They provide a comprehensive induction during the first week. You will then be given a minimum of 2 placements during your 8 months, where you will be given real work and real responsibility. You will get genuine client contact and get formally evaluated on two occasions. Accenture also treat you extremely well, organizing social events for the group throughout the 8 months. It’s therefore a very sociable period. The Horizon group also forms part of a wider group of other internships, such as industrial placements (from universities such as Bath) and navigator students (graduates on a 9 week internship).

What’s the benefit?
  1. Significant salary to fund travel plans and university
  2. Interesting work for 8 months (beats working in a bar or shop!)
  3. Fantastic learning experience where you will genuinely learn a number of new skills and get real exposure to a corporate environment
  4. Great work experience for your CV. You will have real life situations to draw from in future interviews. This is invaluable.
  5. You start to differentiate yourself from your peers who have had no similar work experience
  6. Gain exposure to Management consulting as a potential future career
  7. If you impress, gain an early advantage with Accenture with the potential of being sponsored by them.
  8. Great social environment for 8 months and you meet lots of like minded other students.
  9. Timing allows you to still be able to travel for 4-5 months.
Find out more about how to prepare for the job assessment process for Accenture here.


alphasights   AlphaSights is seeking exceptional gap year students to join them in London as AlphaScholars. If you are driven, focussed and excited about diving into the world of business before university, they would love to hear from you.

   A High Growth Company. AlphaSights is a global leader in knowledge search. Founded in 2008, they have established themselves as a go-to knowledge partner for decision-makers across private equity, asset management, consultancy and corporate strategy, helping them access the highly specific industry    expertise they need to make better decisions, faster.

The Programme

As an AlphaScholar, you will be placed in a smaller team exploring an emerging part of the business and helping to drive forward new products and business initiatives. You can expect a steep learning curve and a fast-paced environment. You will be expected to learn quickly, manage competing deadlines and deliver projects to your team under time pressure.


What they Look For:
Applicants should possess an understanding of their business and be able to articulate why they exist and what they do. They do not expect hard skills or technical competencies at this level, but they do look for the following features when assessing and selecting new team members:

  • You have a clear early ideas for your career direction and are aware of how AlphaSights could fit with your journey.
  • You are excited about developing business communication skills.
  • You have a positive 'can-do' attitude and have a natural tendency to take the initiative.
  • You empathise, connect with others and build meaningful relationships
Interview Process

1) Online CV application, including video assessment

2) In person Recruiter interview

3) In person Manager interview

4) Offer

Please note that they appreciate the pressure of exam period, and will always try to work with you to schedule interview dates that best reconcile with your timetable.

  • Current Year 13 student
  • Strong academic credentials (Predicted AAB or above)
  • Noteworthy extracurricular leadership
  • Fluency in English (foreign language skills are also a plus)
Please note that this position is only available in London and they are unable to sponsor visas for this programme. The programme is paid competitively.

Queries can be directed to their Recruitment Team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Apply here: HERE

Bolivian Express

bolivianThe Bolivian Express is Bolivia’s major English-language publication. Its headquarters are in La Paz. It runs 1-3 month training programmes open to gap year students either in Print Journalism or TV production. Participants in the journalism programme are involved in all aspects of magazine production, and take tuition modules on the side aimed at strengthening linguistic and journalistic skills essential for being a journalist in Bolivia. You investigate and write your own articles or photo-essays, and have ample opportunity to practice your Spanish. You can also help design the magazine. Three times a week you take Spanish class in the morning. You also attend newsroom sessions and other programme tutorials, but mainly you will plan your own day: researching and writing articles, relaxing or travelling. In addition you will be provided with photography lessons, cinematography lessons and magazine design lesson by experts in their respective fields.

Bolivian Express is launching a TV Production Training Programme titled BXTV, which involves learning experiences geared towards TV and Film production. We have secured an agreement with a major media organization in Bolivia (Red UNO), as well as a highly acclaimed independent production studio (iTV). You will be given the opportunity of being involved in the production of professional TV content, working alongside experienced and established professionals in the field, on and off set. The experience also includes visits to the TV station where some of the most important local programmes are produced.

You will also be provided with accommodation in La Paz, alongside Spanish lessons at a variety of levels (6 hours per week). You will receive Bolivian press pass on arrival and will be paired with locals in La Paz and encouraged to explore Bolivian culture, eventually producing four pages of content for the magazine each month.

However there is a cost to this. It is £800 for the 1st month and £400 for each subsequent month.

Salary: unpaid

Length of employment: From 1 month to 3 months

Timing: any

Location: Le Paz, Bolivia

Accommodation: yes this is provided – in downtown City centre penthouse apartment. Shared with the rest of the team.

No’s: limit of 7 places per month

The Programme

They offer 1-3 month introductions to Bolivia and journalism. You investigate and write your own articles or photo-essays, and have ample opportunity to practice your Spanish. You can also help design the magazine. In this professionally enriching experience, you will forge intercultural links and personal contacts. Three times a week you take Spanish class in the morning. You also attend newsroom sessions and other programme tutorials, but mainly you will plan your own day: researching and writing articles, relaxing or travelling.

Who can apply?

Bolivian Express are looking for people interested in discovering Bolivian culture. You may be interested in learning the language, want a journalism internship, have a photography passion, are an avid writer or enjoy magazine design. You must speak fluent English, be at least seventeen years old, and have an observant eye and inquisitive spirit. Spanish is helpful but not essential.

Recruitment Process

There is no official deadline, applications are ongoing. However, they are limited to seven places per month, so the earlier you apply the better chance of getting a place in your preferred time period. They sometimes receive applications for up to a year in advance, but in general you should be fine if you apply about four-six months before you expect to take up your position.

You apply by submitting an application form. After reviewing this, Bolivian Express will get back to you within 2 weeks for a phone conversation. The purpose of the conversation is for both sides to get to know each other. Also if they are oversubscribed they will need to talk to you to enable their decision. They also want to make sure that any prospective participants understand what the programme involves and so will explain a bit more about it and answer any questions you may have.


Cambridge Consultants

cambridge consultantsCambridge Consultants develops breakthrough products, creates and licenses intellectual property, and provides business consulting in technology critical issues, for clients world-wide. Since 1990, they have provided industrial experience in a wide range of technical disciplines for students intending to go on to university to obtain degrees in technical subjects. In addition to spending a gap year as salaried employees of the company prior to university, you can apply for supplementary financial support throughout your subsequent university course. Their gap year programme, which is a year in length is part of their scholarship scheme.

Technology Scholars 
Awarded to exceptional A-level students in the UK, these Technology Scholarships give you the chance to come and work for a year before you go to university. You’ll get paid, get involved in real projects for their clients and work in teams to deliver a technology scholar project that you’ll present to the whole company.

While you’re at university, you’ll receive a generous bursary every year plus guaranteed paid work at CC every summer. Once you’ve completed your studies to degree, masters or PhD level, there are no strings attached. They offer only the best Tech Scholars a permanent position but there’s no obligation to stay.

Ideally you will be looking to pursue a career in software engineering

You need to include in your CV your GCSE results, predicted A Level results, extracurricular activities that you are involved in, work experience if you have any and hobbies/interests.


centricaCentrica is involved in every aspect of generating, storing and providing energy. They also own British Gas.  They offer a year in industry as part of YINI operated by the Enginering Development Trust (EDT). You apply to EDT and then your application is passed to Centrica. They take on students in a variety of departments and business units and offer you an opportunity to have a placement with responsibility and real tasks. The YINI programme has an engineering bias, and Centrica would expect for you to have a background/interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) subjects. Participants of the scheme also have the opportunity to enrol in a free management scheme and a certified maths course at Loughborough University.

As an employer of STEM related employees, Centrica want to show you that there are a variety of roles that you could do and fantastic career prospects in STEM function roles. They hope that you may return to join their undergraduate summer placement programme or graduate programme or secure a role post placement.

The year long placement is paid.

Learn more about Centrica's online tests and assessment centre HERE.

City Year

cityyearCity Year is a leading youth and education charity and a beacon for a volunteer service year. They raise the attainment of children from disadvantaged backgrounds and give volunteers the skills to make a success of their lives after City Year. City Year recruits 18-to-25-year-olds for 11 months of full-time volunteering as near-peer role models, mentors and tutors in schools in deprived areas. This simple act of ‘giving back’ through a volunteer service year has a triple impact. City Year currently has 150 corps members serving in small teams in 17 schools across London and Birmingham.

What you will do.
First of all you will attend a two-week basic training academy. This is all about preparing you with information about what it means to be a City Year corps member and equipping you with the basic knowledge you need to work in a school.  You will then form a new team of between seven and ten teammates. These are the people you will work most closely with throughout your time at City Year. Your team will serve in a single school (or perhaps a pair of nearby schools) between Monday and Thursday throughout the entire school day. You will be at school in the morning to welcome the children and run after-school activities in the afternoons. You will do a range of hands-on tutoring and mentoring activities and support the teaching staff by monitoring children’s attendance, behaviour and curriculum performance. You will often eat with the children, play at break times and generally become a highly visible personality within the school. You might be the first and last person a child sees during the school day. On Fridays you will attend theCity Year HQ in Islington, or the sponsor's offices, where you will train and attend the Leadership After City Year programme.
Who can apply?
They recruit high quality graduates and post A level students and also recruit young people who have not followed an academic path. Your passion and dedication to transforming children’s lives is what matters most. You need to be exceptional in your commitment to helping children. There isn’t a “typical” corps member but they look for people that demonstrate these qualities: passion, idealism,energy, commitment, dedication, tirelessness, optimism, hope, selflessness, pride, leadership, focus,ambition.

Volunteering with City Year is not an easy option. A year of service in a school is hard work and can be tiring – but the rewards are immense!.

ESL Languages Abroad

eslESL  offer their "GAP YEAR" programme which is for those who wish to travel abroad to learn a language, with several months at their disposal. The programmes are based on sessions of three months or more. They are presented in the form of modules in order to provide a personalised academic and practical programme. The GAP YEAR programmes have been developed in order to combine, in a flexible and tailor-made way, your objectives and individual needs. The programmes are aimed at those who wish to live abroad in order to acquire the command of a language. There are five programmes:
  • Language studies abroad (trimester, semester or academic year)
  • Internships
  • Paid jobs
  • Higher Education
  • Volunteer work
There is a wide choice of destinations and schools and internship and voluntary work is coordinated by the schools. There is also a wide choice of courses to suit all levels. 

Internship Progarmme
The internship always takes place after a language course, as it prepares you to work in a local company. You must have reached the necessary language level enabling you to meet the demands of the internship. This criterion is essential to the smooth running and success of the programme. Divided into two stages, this programme includes : a language course and an unpaid internship in a company. Internships combined with alanguage course are available in a wide variety of countries including Spain, France, Germany, Russia and Mexico. 

EY Smart Futures

eylogoEY Smart Futures offers you an opportunity to have a great paid experience of work. It is a ten month programme starting with paid work experience in the summer or Easter.

The paid work experience begins with interactive sessions and opportunities to work with different types of businesses. You will learn new skills that will help you to become more employable and broaden your horizons. Following this you will spend a week working in a team and getting hands on experience in a business.

To be eligible for the programme you will be:

  • Currently in Year 12 (England) or Fifth Year (Scotland)
  • Eligible for free school meals at some point in the past six years (ie household income has been less than £16,190 in England or £16,105 in Scotland)
  • Attending a state school
  • Studying any combination of A-level/International Baccalaureate/BTEC Level 3s/Standards/Highers
  • Ambitious and motivated to join the world of work
The programme is running in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Bristol, Reading, the North West (Manchester and Liverpool), London, Luton, Yorkshire (Leeds and Hull) and Southampton.

Learn more about EY's online tests and assessment centre HERE.


ibmIBM is the world's largest IT and consulting services company. They offer 2 gap year programmes - one business and the other technical. They are both 12 months in length.

Business Placement: Spend your gap year in a business role and you’ll be supporting one of IBMs many business areas, such as Project Management, business operations, market research, marketing and sales.

Technical Placement: There’s a huge amount you could get involved in - for instance, you could support experts in web design, problem diagnosis, software development, database development and technical project management.

You’ll start your placement off with a week-long induction course, along with the other approx 30 other gap year students.

Salary: £15,000 p.a plus laptop and £1000 performance related bonus at the end.

Holiday: 25 days pro rata

If you decide to go to university, IBM will set you up with an IBM mentor when you start your course. In addition, If you want to return to work with them during university holidays, they will try and accomodate this.

Who can Apply?

  • To be eligible to apply, you must have at least 5 GCSE’s at grade C or above including Maths and English and at least 160 UCAS points.
  • You must also be eligible to work in the UK.
  • The majority of IBMs apprentices are based from client sites across the UK which means having a flexible attitude to travelling around the country and staying away from home is a must have.
  • You don’t need any work experience though so don’t worry.

Learn more about IBM online tests and assessment centre HERE.

KLC School of Design

klcAre you interested in a career in interior or garden design? KLC School of Design in Chelsea Harbour, in London are now offering a two-week Gap Year course which will form a practical introduction in interior design for school leavers. The cost os £1800. 

Led by a professional interior designer, the programme will include talks and demonstrations, as well as a series of interactive workshops to allow you to put theory into practice. The workshops will provide the opportunity for you to respond to a given design brief and the project you develop could form the basis of a future portfolio of work.

The minimum age for entry to this course is 18 and students with GCSE or A-Level Art are particularly encouraged.

To find out more, contact us on 020 7376 3377 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. KLC.the programme will include inspirational talks and demonstrations and a series of highly enjoyable interactive workshops to allow students to put theory into practice. The workshops will provide the opportunity for students to respond to a given design brief and the project they develop could form the basis of a future portfolio of work

KLC also run numerous other 1 day workshops, and part time and full time design courses, in addition to garden design courses.


pglPGL provide residential activity holidays and educational courses for children. There are 26 activity centres across UK, France and Spain. These cater for school trips, activity holidays, group residentials for clubs such as scouts, guides, brownies, youth clubs etc and family activity holidays.  They offer a 34 week paid programme and during that time, train you and give you the skills and confidence you need. They have a range of different jobs available including activity instructors, group leaders, catering and housekeeping assistants, tour leaders, ski reps etc. For many of the job roles, you do not need any previous qualifications to apply. They want to see from your application however that you are motivated, responsible and willing to learn and can relate to young people. They provide full board and also a range of training courses that are free of charge. 

This role will be great for your CV, providinf transferable skills such as independence, initiative, resourcefulness, team working and confidence.  If you are interested in sports, you can also save money on courses as they are provided free by PGL. For example the RYA, BCU and UKCC accredited watersports training courses can save you £2000. 

This role will be varied and you will not be working 9-5. 


pretPret, Pret A Manger (or Pret) is a British company offering a selection of sandwiches, salads, wraps, baguettes, hot food and organic teas and coffees. Using quality ingredients, all fresh products are hand-made on-site in Pret’s shop kitchens every day. Unsold food items are donated to local homeless charities in the evenings.

Just over 30 years after opening its first shop in London, Pret now has around 450 locations in the UK, US, France, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Dubai.

Pret offers a year-long apprenticeship, "The Pret Apprenticeship", which aims to give you the opportunity and support to start your careers straight away, while also gaining a Level 2 apprenticeship.

Available to school leavers, gap year students and recent graduates across the UK, each successful applicant is given a full-time shop based role and support from their in house Pret Apprenticeship Team. 80% of Pret Managers started as Team Members, so the opportunities to climb the ladder at Pret are significant.

No matter your age, participants will be paid Pret’s starting salary of £7.85 or £7.65 an hour (depending on location), with eligibility to receive an extra £1 an hour weekly Mystery Shopper bonus, after 12 weeks. You will also receive Pret’s benefits and perks, including weekly pay, free food on shift, a 50% discount when not, paid breaks and 28 days’ holiday. 

Raleigh International: International Citizen Service (ICS)

raleigh internationalRaleigh offers a ICS scheme. Have you thought about international volunteering? International Citizen Service (ICS) is a is a once-in-a-lifetime volunteering opportunity open to all 18-25 year olds in which you will gain the skills and experience that are valued by employers while making a difference. It is a UK government funded development programme that brings together young people to make a difference in some of the poorest communities in the world. They are working with other respected development organisations to deliver the programme. You don’t need cash, skills or qualifications to apply - just the ambition to make a difference.

Find more information HERE..


reniRenishaw is a global company with core skills in measurement, motion control, spectroscopy and precision machining. They run Pre-University Placement Scheme. These year long placements are offered to students who are studying or plan to study engineering, or its associated subjects, at undergraduate level.  The placements are paid and the work is relevant to the engineering needs of the business and interest of the applicant.

You can enter a Pre-University Placement following the successful completion of A-Level studies and where a university place has been deferred for a year.


Schroders Traineeship Programme

Schroders offers a 12-month fixed-term work experience placement. It’s a great way to gain experience to put on your CV and to explore working life within the asset management industry. You will spend your year working in offices in central London, being paid a competitive salary. As a trainee you will join a team in one of the following business areas:
  • Operations
  • Sales and marketing
  • Data Management
  • Compliance 

Voluntering Matters

volunteering mattersVolunteering Matters offer the opportunity for people aged 18-35 to undertake the challenge of living away from home for 6-12 months while volunteering at one of a wide range of projects helping and supporting people and communities across the UK. You could be volunteering with people with physical disabilities, learning disabilities or mental health issues, older people, homeless people, families, children or young people. They work with a range of partners include schools, universities, social services departments, homeless hostels and other charities.

What will you be doing?
You could be carrying out a wide range of activities including:
  • Befriending and supporting
  • Acting as a mentor or role model
  • Enabling access to social and leisure activities
  • Helping with personal care
  • Assisting with domestic tasks such as shopping, cooking or cleaning
Who can volunteer?
No previous experience or specific qualifications are required. You need to be:
  • Able to commit for 6-12 months for 35-40 hours a week
  • Aged between 18 – 35
  • Able to move away from home and be placed anywhere in the UK
  • Willing to be matched to a project where your help is most needed
  • Able to provide two suitable references
  • A UK, EU or EEA national and resident in the UK (If you are not a UK or EU/EEA national living in the UK, please contact us for more information)

What do you receive?

  • Free accommodation
  • Subsistence to cover food and day to day expenses
  • Travel expenses to and from your project
  • Return travel home every four months
  • Support and relevant training
  • Certificate and reference

YINI (Year in Industry)

yiniThe YINI programme is a well-established scheme helping A ‘level students find work placements during their gap year. It is run by EDT (Engineering Development Trust) and is aimed mainly at engineering, science, IT and finance students. They have 300 partner companies who they work with who offer placements. About 25% of the students who participate are sponsored through university, many gaining holiday work and ultimately graduate positions.

Most placements start in August / September and finish in July / August of the following year but this can vary. Nine-month placements are also available.

The YINI Combo combines a 9/10-month placement with travel abroad with BUNAC, Coral Cay Conservation, Raleigh International or Projects Abroad. Students start work in August/September and finish in May/June before starting their travel.

Typically, you can earn from approximately £11,000 up to £17,000, dependent upon age, experience and company salary structure.

Vacancies for the individual positions are advertised on their website ( and application is on line. Positions are located throughout the UK.


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