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Press Release

As stats show recession-related increase in career breaks, Projects Abroad PRO director says volunteering demonstrates personal qualities and boosts CVs and confidence

>PRWEB.COM Newswire

Brighton, UK (PRWEB UK) 26 June 2012

Gap year travel is not a new phenomenon. But as the reality of the economic downturn continues to bite, statistics show that record numbers of working-age people are taking sabbaticals and career breaks. In 2010, Santander bank estimated that 4 million people had a career break in the UK alone.

Scott McQuarrie, Director of Projects Abroad PRO, an organisation that supports skilled graduates, professionals and retirees in volunteering abroad, says that the rise in professional people taking time out shows a continuing desire to learn, share their skills and challenge themselves. Depending on their circumstances, it can also be an important CV-booster.

“Placements in fields such as business development, engineering and human rights often attract volunteers with quite a lot of experience,” said Scott. “People travel more than they did in the 70s and 80s and there’s a sense that the world is a smaller place. But in some countries it’s not a ‘fair’ place. Volunteers want to put their experience and expertise into practice where the benefits of their input will be real and tangible. If they’re between jobs, it also gives them an opportunity to show how proactive, flexible and, ultimately, employable they are.”

While volunteers with plenty of career experience gain satisfaction from seeing the difference they can make, it’s a time of learning for them, too, said Scott. He uses the example of recent volunteer Vivian Garofalo, who took time out from teaching law and business in her native Canada to spend three months at the Human Rights Project in Cape Town, South Africa.

“Vivian was really keen to get involved in our legal work with refugees, and she worked on a number of cases from start to finish. Refugees in South Africa do not have the support of social services that exist in some Western countries, and they face some huge challenges. Vivian said that she got more exposure to refugees and ‘the system’ in Africa than she expected to – and her experience, as well as her personal qualities, was an important factor in her achieving so much during the placement.”

Vivian said: “It was a real eye-opener and showed me the many faces of Cape Town. While it is an extremely worthwhile experience for young people, it is equally valuable for more experienced professionals.”

Scott said: “We hope that stories like Vivian’s will inspire other career-breakers to get in touch,” said Scott. “As well as having an unforgettable experience, we’ve found that volunteering can boost people’s confidence and their CVs too.”

About Projects Abroad:
Through Projects Abroad PRO, skilled or qualified people can volunteer in India, Nepal and other parts of Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and South and Central America. Volunteers are matched with projects that make the best use of their specific skills and availability and they also benefit from plenty of peer-to-peer support and contact and the services and expertise of an in-country coordinator.

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