Getting the best of both worlds; work and travel

From leaving school and landing a job, to volunteering in Fiji, and then going back to work!

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We all know the standard path of most young adults these days; go to school, do your GCSEs, do your A levels, go to university and then get a job.

But what happens when you decide this isn’t the path for you?

I’m a prime example of someone who didn’t follow the same path as everyone else, yet still has a career and still manages to do all the things I love whilst gaining invaluable work experiences.

At 17 I had finished all my A levels, achieved all my GCSEs and long story short, I decided university wasn’t the best place for me at that time. That’s when I started working at Pelican. Three years later I’m still here and about to embark on another trip, this time to Fiji for a three month career break.

In my three years at Pelican I’ve gained so much more than I would have following the university route. I’m business administrator and have gained a HND in business, attended courses on website development and people skills development, worked with experienced colleagues and absorbed knowledge from both them and the business as a whole. For this opportunity, I couldn’t be grateful enough, and then being offered a career break is like the icing on the cake.

In September 2017, I will travel to Fiji where I will be taking part in a volunteering programme with a company called Think Pacific. What most people don’t realise is that 75% of Fiji is in extreme poverty, and most villages don’t have running water or access to electricity whenever they like.
Education is not a prime focus for the remote islands and this is where Think Pacific and my team come in. The company is committed to taking groups of young adults over to the remote village islands in Fiji to help improve the standard of teaching, develop school curriculums and start the village children off on the right foot in school.

A typical day in village life for me is set to be like this;
• 7am wake up with our host families and have breakfast
• 8am walk to school with the children and get settled into the day
• 9am teaching commences until the early afternoon (including breaks and lunch)
• 3pm sports coaching and PE activities
• 5pm return home to our families
• 7pm dinner with the families in the village and night activities such as mat weaving, music nights and small parties.

The village I will be going to is called Tavuki and is located on the island of Kadavu, an isolated island in the South Pacific. The people of Tavuki have been on a waiting list for three years for a group of volunteers to come in and help as we are doing, which will consist of one-to-one teaching, literacy and numeracy tutoring and sports programme development.

The main aim of this trip is to help the villagers gain invaluable education skills which they can carry on long after we have gone and better their own futures, we are there to introduce them to this. I already know that the experiences I’ll gain from this career break will bring a fresh outlook to my life and hopefully I can feed this back into my job and colleagues at Pelican. For more information on Think Pacific, take a look at their website https://thinkpacific.com/.

Cheryl Bennett, Director at Pelican Communications commented,

“Around 30% of the working age population has taken some form of break during the course of their career, research in June by CV library revealed.

Of course some of this population took a career break to take care of children or a family member, around 20% went back into education and over 15% took the opportunity to start their own business. However 24% took the chance to travel.  Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library commented that “…people who are given the opportunity to re-enter the workforce will likely remain more loyal to the company – a ‘win-win’ for any business.”

Managing the business through their absence and then helping them return to the workplace may be difficult.  This is probably the things that put most employers off granting career breaks. We have found that the return on offering staff this benefit is loyalty, motivation and above all in Beth’s case –the chance to broaden her horizons and bring a new level of life skills back into the business.  What’s not to gain?”