Name: Will Stroud
Degree & university: University of Bristol, BSc Politics
Gap year:During my gap year I worked for Deloitte as a scholar in the area of Tax. The job was varied and gave me the opportunity to meet with clients, work on real projects and meet experts in their field right from day one. Once my placement was completed, I was provided with a bursary which allowed me to go travelling around Europe and the United States and meant that I was able to watch England play in the World Cup.
What was your motivation in taking a gap year?
My motivation for taking a gap year was to gain as much experience as I could whilst still being able to earn money in order to help fund my education. By working at Deloitte I was able to achieve both of these goals.
How did you fund your gap year?
The gap year was entirely funded by my Deloitte salary – despite a lengthy commute I was also able to save a substantial amount of money towards my university education. In addition, Deloitte provided me with a travel bursary.
To what extent has your gap year helped your career?
My gap year has benefitted me enormously – I have learned a lot about how to act in and around the workplace as well as gaining technical skills that will benefit my future career. In addition, I have been able to gain placements in Corporate Finance which would not have been possible without the Scholars Scheme on my C.V.
What did you enjoy most about your year out?
Undoubtedly the best thing about my year out was the people that I met. Many of my colleagues are now my friends and we frequently meet for dinner or drinks. I have had the chance to work with some of the worlds leading minds in their fields and have been academically challenged by working as a scholar.
Were there any downsides/ bad experiences?
One of the most difficult things about working in a large organisation is that initially you feel very much out of place – you are treated in exactly the same way as a graduate which means taking on a large amount of responsibility. Although this was initially quite daunting, you are given lots of support and soon grow into the role.
What do you think are the most important skills/strengths you need to make a success of a gap year?
In order to make a success out of a gap year you need to be outgoing. You will meet lots of new people, many of whom are much older than you, and be given lots of opportunities. In addition, you should not be afraid to ask for things, whether it be more challenging work or the opportunity to work abroad; people are generally receptive to you and will try and accommodate your wishes if they can.
What would be your best piece of advice for students considering a gap year?
My best piece of advice for prospective gap year students is simply to make the most of it. Don’t be put off by the fact that your friends are all going to university – you will keep in touch with them and more than likely see them just as much as if you were going to university anyway.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I would wholeheartedly recommend the Deloitte Scholars Scheme for anyone thinking of taking a gap year. The support that they provide to you both during your gap year and during your time at university is excellent. I have had the opportunity to gain more than 15 months paid work experience, been provided with support to go travelling and madelots of friends, I would most definitely do it all again if I had the chance.