The gap year has gone from a rare occurrence to a popular choice for university students. The increasing number of students deciding to go on a gap year before university could be based on various things, from increasing tuition fees to the fact that taking a break after school has become more widely known and accepted. Recent reports from Fresh Student Living show that some 230,000 18-25 year-olds take a gap year annually, and the trend is only growing.
Also, young people today are more interested in experiences, with a recent survey showing that 72% of young people prefer to spend money on experiences than material things.
A common misconception is that taking a gap year is nothing more than a waste of time and money.
This cannot be further from the truth, as taking a gap year can help you explore new countries, broaden your skills, and experience new cultures that will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life.
With the latest GSE Advanced results been published on the 16 August 2018, many students may be planning their futures and considering taking a gap year.
If you’re considering taking a gap year but find it daunting, or if you’re struggling to get your parents on board, here are some gap year stats worth checking out:
- 60% of students said a gap year helped them decide what subject to study at uni
- 40% of students do not apply to uni before taking a gap year
- 90% of gap year students enter uni on their return
- 66% of students took their academic work more seriously after having a gap year
- 80% of students felt that their gap year added to their employability
- 80% of gappers work in Britain at some point during their gap year
Mind the Gap
While many students may be considering taking a gap year, others could be wondering when the right time is to take a gap year – before uni, after uni, or before joining the workforce. Of course, the answer to that depends on individual circumstances. There could be numerous reasons why students do not take a gap year, which could include affordability and the fear of not being accepted at your chosen university.
Pre-uni Gap Year
Many institutions encourage taking a gap year before higher education as it is said to help students mature and give them a sense of duty and responsibility.
- Entering uni with added maturity and responsibility
- Allows breathing space before hitting the books for the next few years
- Many organisations cater to students taking gap years and can include courses, projects, volunteering and internships
- Working during your gap year could give you a chance to save money
- Some students may struggle to get back into studying mode once they return
- High school graduates may be too young and immature to really value the experience and embrace the challenge
- Some unis may not allow you to defer a year
Taking a Year Out of University
This is not usually recommended by experts, although there are some pros to taking some time out of your degree.
- The break can provide plenty of opportunities to work, volunteer and travel abroad
- Study abroad options will enhance your studies, introduce you to a new culture and lifestyle, and sharpen up your CV
- Can be distracting
- Taking a year out during your degree will mean your friends and peers would have moved on
- Could be viewed as non-committal to some employers
Post-uni Gap Year
After a few years of studying, taking a year off can be the best idea, and you have so many options to choose from before settling into a long-term career.
- Taking time to enjoy a big adventure or experience before settling into the workforce
- A great time to travel with friends before going your separate ways
- You will have a better understanding of who you are and what your preferences and limitations are
- A nice boost to your CV
- Funds could be low, and you may have to get a part-time job to make ends meet
- If your parents have been funding your studies, they may want you to start making your own money immediately instead of paying for a ‘long holiday’
Making Your Gap Year Count
- Taking a gap year is an opportunity to experience the world and learn some life-long lessons. Here are some do’s and don’ts during your gap year to help make the most of your experience.
- Do gain valuable and relevant experiences – Volunteering will definitely boost your application, while this type of experience can also benefit medicine and veterinary courses.
- Do gain and improve your skills – In order to fully prepare for your studies, it is a good idea to participate in activities that improve and maintain your skills.
- Do earn some money – Take your gap year as an opportunity to earn and save some money as this reflects well on you, especially on your application.
- Do discover yourself – Use this break away from the classroom to travel, gain experience and learn more about the world.
- Don’t waste the opportunity – However you choose to spend your gap year, make sure it is constructive and valuable. Make sure to plan your time effectively and do your research well in advance.
Jane Crouch, Chief Operations Officer at Fresh Student Living said,
“Ultimately, choosing to take a gap year is a rewarding experience, and if done right, will boost your university application and will mentally and financially prepare you for the next few years of studying. It can also be beneficial once you start looking for jobs, as employers are quick to see the positive in taking time out to work or travel. Enter your gap year with a clear plan and an open mind and it can be a positive, life-changing experience.”
Global semiconductor shortage spurs run on vintage chipmaking tools
By Stephen Nellis and Hyunjoo Jin
(Reuters) – Minnesota-based Polar Semiconductor makes chips for automakers and is booked beyond capacity. But expanding production lines to help solve a chip shortage that is shutting down car factories around the world is not feasible – in part due to the scarcity of older-style chipmaking machinery.
Chip factories like Polar use these tools to make chips on 200-millimeter silicon wafers, which were state-of-the-art two decades ago. Now, advanced chips are made using much larger wafers, but there is still a lot of demand for simpler, older chips.
The demand has been supercharged by a combination of the COVID-19-driven boom in computer gear and unexpected strength in auto sales that resulted in shortages. General Motors Co on Wednesday extended production cuts at three North American plants and added a fourth to the list of factories hit, and Fiat Chrysler owner Stellantis warned the pain could linger far into the year. Shortages forced Ford Motor Co to slash shifts for production of its F-150 pickup truck, a longtime profit driver.
Automakers use a range of chips in cars. Some, such as those in infotainment systems, are made in the same cutting-edge chip factories that make smartphone chips. But other chips in braking and engine systems are made using older, proven technologies that meet automakers’ durability and reliability requirements.
But the machines to make those older chips can take six to nine months to find, said Surya Iyer, vice president of operations and quality at Polar.
“There’s no way I can expand capacity beyond just stretching my limits,” Iyer said. “A real capacity increase would take nine to 12 months, minimum.”
Resellers of chipmaking gear saying they cannot find used equipment, leading some buyers to stalk old factories in the United States, Japan and Europe, waiting for them to close in hopes of snapping up the gear inside.
“Demand is hot for used equipment, but we don’t have enough of them to cope with demand,” said Bruce Kim, chief executive of South Korea’s SurplusGLOBAL, one of the largest dealers of used chipmaking gear.
He said used equipment prices have gone up by as much as 20% over the past six months, while the number of refurbished 200mm tools fell to 1,000, down from between 7,000 to 8,000 a decade ago.
Ohio-based Rite Track, in normal times, buys up old chipmaking equipment, upgrades it and sells it to chip factories. But Chief Executive Tim Hayden said the recent squeeze has spurred the company to spend more time sending technicians out to upgrade tools that are already installed on factory floors in order to squeeze more chips out of them.
“You just can’t go out on the open market and buy a used 200-millimeter tool – they’re just not readily available,” Hayden said. “So people are getting a little bit more creative.”
NEW OFFERS FOR OLD TOOLS
Demand for old tools is so robust that buyers are looking at every kind of factory. Spin Memory in Fremont, California, is designing a new kind of memory chip and maintains a small “pilot production line,” mostly to provide samples to potential customers, said Chief Executive Tom Sparkman. Even though Spin Memory’s tools use 20-year-old technology, Sparkman gets offers to buy them almost every day.
“We haven’t taken the plunge to get rid of it yet, but some days it’s tempting,” he said.
Toolmakers such as Applied Materials Inc and Lam Research Corp, meanwhile, are building booming businesses by refurbishing or recreating some of their greatest hits from the 1990s and earlier.
“It’s really exploding,” said Mike Rosa, head of strategic and technical marketing for a group at Applied Materials, the world’s biggest chip-equipment vendor.
David Haynes, a managing director at Lam Research, said demand for 200-millimeter tools was once mostly from China as it worked to build up its domestic chipmaking industry. Now, he said, customers from around the world are looking to buy or upgrade older tools.
Still, investment in older technology lags relative to the spending on more advanced production lines, or “nodes” as they are known in the industry.
“Most of the capital expenditure has been going into advanced nodes,” said Tyson Tuttle, chief executive of Silicon Laboratories Inc, which designs automotive chips to be made on older technology. Chipmakers “have always relied on the fact that the digital guys move out of the older nodes, and that frees up capacity for all the support chips. The problem is, the digital guys aren’t moving out as fast. The mainstream nodes are all just jammed.”
(Reporting by Stephen Nellis and Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Matthew Lewis)
Boeing looking for new $4 billion revolving credit facility – source
(Reuters) – Boeing Co has approached a group of banks for a new $4 billion revolving credit facility, according to a person familiar with the matter, as the planemaker battles a prolonged slowdown in commercial air travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Investment-grade rated companies use revolving credit facilities as backstop financing, with these facilities remaining undrawn for the most part.
The U.S. jet manufacturer has the option to raise the size of the two-year credit facility to as much as $6 billion, the person said on Thursday.
A Boeing spokesman declined to comment. The development was earlier reported by Bloomberg News.
Boeing Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith had discussed raising more debt at the company’s quarterly earnings call in January.
Smith said Boeing has “sufficient liquidity” currently, but it continues to consider all options to strengthen its balance sheet.
(Reporting by Joshua Franklin in Boston, Eric M. Johnson in Seattle and Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta
Manchester United quarterly revenue rises on broadcasting boost
(Reuters) – Manchester United Plc said its total revenue rose 2.6% in the last three months of 2020, helped by strength in broadcasting.
“The rapid rollout of vaccines in the UK and beyond gives us confidence that we are now on a path towards normality, including the return of fans to stadia” Executive Vice Chairman Ed Woodward said on Thursday.
Broadcasting revenue, the English Premier League soccer club’s largest segment, rose 68% to 108.7 million pounds. The jump was helped by United’s participation in the European Champions League.
United, 20 times English champions, are currently second in the Premier League, but lag 14 points behind local rivals Manchester City.
The club said revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31 was 172.8 million pounds ($239.97 million) and profit was 63.9 million pounds.
($1 = 0.7201 pounds)
(Reporting by Keith Weir in London and Arunima Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Shinjini Ganguli)