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Volunteer AbroadVolunteer Overseas

Rise in student volunteers

April 2012

STUDENTS are increasingly turning to volunteering projects and gap years after they find themselves unable to land a place on their dream university course.

Gap year specialists Projects Abroad have seen a 30 per cent rise in people enrolling on volunteering placements this year, while youth travel agents STA have seen a 35 per cent increase in the number of youngsters booking gap year travel experiences.

The news comes after the University of Essex revealed it had bucked the national trend by seeing a 3.6 per cent rise in the number of applications this year, despite tuition fees at its Southend, Loughton and Colchester campuses being raised to £9,000.

Dr Peter Slowe, a former economic policy adviser for Tony Blair, is now managing director of Projects Abroad, which offers students a range of opportunities once they leave school.

He said: “Our young volunteers, who were disappointed in not finding a place in university, are now seeing it as a blessing in disguise. They have realised volunteering in the third world is an excellent way to step off the treadmill of academia and broaden their outlook, life skills and general education, while enriching the lives of others.

“Even a short experience abroad is a maturing and confidence-building exercise, the perfect precursor to taking on a serious course of study.”

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