Living and working in the UK during your gap year may seem dull and hardly a ‘different’ experience but it holds many advantages: cheaper travel, knowledge of language and customs, and a headstart finding employment since immigration or international working laws will not restrict you. Furthermore, for many it will provide the opportunity to visit places and meet people who would otherwise remain unknown.
The current minimum wage in the UK for those aged 18 to 21 is �4.45 per hour, and �5.35 per hour for those over 22. Non-EU nationals will find it difficult to obtain legal work in the UK and will firstly need a six-month tourist visa and a work permit if intending to find legal employment. Work permits will prove difficult to come across for non-EU nationals without particular work skills.
The list of casual job opportunities in the UK is endless but would most commonly would be found in pubs, restaurants, bars, clubs, hostels, and hotels. Jobs in pubs and restaurants vary in wage but hold the advantage of customer tips in addition to an hourly rate from an employer. Furthermore, many employees in pubs are provided with accommodation for the duration of their employment, but bear in mind that wages are bound to be reduced if this is the case. The best way to find these types of jobs is to ask around, look in local newspapers and on noticeboards.
PGL is the UK’s leading provider of residential activity holidays for children, with centres across the UK, France and Spain. Working for PGL in a variety of roles and locations including as Activity Instructors, Watersports Instructors, Children’s Group Leaders, Field Studies Instructors, Catering Staff, Housekeeping Staff, Drivers, French-speaking roles and Administrators, offers the opportunity to work with like-minded people in a supportive environment in some of Europe’s most stunning locations, with a competitive four-weekly wage, free food and accommodation provided.
Countless charities and volunteer organisations exist in the UK, and opportunities depend on what you are looking for. Many volunteer placements include free accommodation and food but make sure you establish this before beginning work. Below are just a few examples of different volunteer experiences available. Youth for Britain can supply a database of thousands of placements in the UK and worldwide, so if you are serious about volunteering in your gap year it is worth contacting them for more details.
Camphill Communities run volunteer placements across the globe. Volunteers work in communities with adults with special needs. You will be expected to work for 6 days a week and it is usually preferred that you stay for at least one year. Accommodation is provided for the duration of your stay, but you will have to fund your own meals. The Pennine Camphill Community is just one place in the UK that you can demonstrate your volunteer skills, and volunteers do not have to commit to full-time work but instead can volunteer for just a few hours a week. There are also communities in Scotland; see the Camphill Scotland website for more details.
Ffestiniog Rrailway in North Wales is the oldest independent railway in the World, and is surrounded by the beautiful countryside of Snowdonia. It recruits volunteers to help operate trains, work in catering, and workshops, etc. Volunteers are unpaid and are expected to find and fund their own accommodation, but for �3 per night you can rent a bed in a local hostel, reduced to �2 per night after twenty nights’ stay.
The National Trust
The National Trust has many registered buildings throughout the UK and require volunteers to help with their running, whether it be working in the houses and offices or management of the environment.
Community Service Volunteers
Volunteers work for four to twelve months on various projects around the UK, including conservation and environmental programmes. Accommodation, food, and a �24.50 weekly allowance are included on all projects.
Volunteers work in communities for homeless young people, helping with activities for residents and carrying out domestic tasks. Two communities exist: one in Edinburgh and the other in West Lothian. Although volunteers are expected to pay for travel expenses, once on the programme they are provided with food, accommodation and about �30 weekly pocket money.
7 North Street Workshops Stoke sub Hamdon Somerset TA14 6QR
Youth for Britain Higher Orchard Sandford Orcas Sherborne Dorset DT9 4RP,
Camphill Communities provides a database of links to various Camphill Communities around the world.
Camphill Scotland provides links to Camphill Communities in Scotland.
PGL organises adventure holidays for children and provides jobs across Europe.
Callan Projects provides a database of links to various Camphill communities around the world
Visitfestrail.co.uk for more information about the Ffestiniog railway.
CSV is Britains largest training and volunteering organisation
The National Trust are responsible for many of Britains heritage sites
Edinburgh Cryenians work in communities for homeless young people