Guest Blog: Concept of the Gap Year -Changing the Workforce in India

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It was recently announced that Malia Obama would be going to Harvard for her further studies. Before she embarks on the incredible journey in one of the most prestigious colleges in the world, the 17 year old has decided to take a “gap year “to explore her interests while travelling.

“Gap years” are really popular among students even in India. Students if not after high school then after pursuing their Bachelor’s degree have decided to take gap years to travel, explore their interests or even work to understand their interests before they jump into a Masters’ degree. Several institutes in India such as Swaraj University, Udaipur provides a programme focusing on self-directed learning, social entrepreneurship and skill development for students. Other than educational institutes, Organizations like Teach for India have 2 year fellowships for graduates. The program similar to the popular Teach for America fellowship has graduates spend 2 years educating under-privileged children in municipal schools all around the country.

We at Quikchex realized this phenomenon of gap years to change the future workforce in India. Graduates make the major share of the workforce. And turns out most of them want to make the most of their experience in the real world after they are out of the safe haven of their classrooms. They want to experience the real world and understand its complexities before jumping into a Master’s program. Satiating a need of experiential learning, educational institutions are also accepting applications from students with gaps in education and considering volunteer experience and internship opportunities as relevant work experience.

Graduates who take a gap year are changing not only the educational space demanding work experiences , internship or volunteer experiences before venturing into a masters programs but also workplaces that are looking for graduates that willing to experiment with job roles or work for a start up in its early stages.

Here are the 5 reasons why the students who took a Gap Year will change the workforce.

1. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses

Work places may benefit from this practice of students who have taken a gap year because they took time off exploring career opportunities that excite them. Employees who took a Gap Year know of their strengths and weaknesses in a work environment and what they can contribute to the company on joining.

2. Sense of direction
These students already have a sense of direction with respect to their careers as compared to fresh Masters Graduates with no prior real world experience. They’ve taken time out to understand in what direction they want to steer their careers and more likely to answer that dreaded interview question of “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

3. Learning from career mistakes
In all probability they may have made a career mistake or two and risen above them. They have learnt from their mistakes and realized what they could’ve done differently. But most importantly, they might not have the answer to what they want but must surely know exactly what they don’t want from their careers.

4. Acquiring new skills
They have spent time developing new skills like learning a new language or learning a new programming tool. They have proved that learning doesn’t necessarily need to be in 4 walls of a classroom and could also be on the Internet. Learning also does not need to be specific to streams like arts, science or commerce and that an engineering student can also learn all about Marxist theory because he wanted to. Most importantly these students have showcased not only skills but curiosity.

5. Finding success when out of the comfort zone
Taking a Gap Year helps employees realize the true importance of getting out of their comfort zone and the importance of experimentation. Gap years give a plethora of life lessons but the most important one of them of all would be the understanding your true potential when you are out of your comfort zone.

-Salome Kulangara

Quikchex is one of India’s leading cloud companies, which integrates HR processes like attendance, leave, and payroll with each other. In addition to this we also provide payroll outsourcing and compliance management solutions. With over 250 clients including some of the leading startups all across the country, we intend to change the way businesses handle their HR