The value of the gap year in the facilitation of career adaptability
CITATION: Rabie, S. & Naidoo, A. V. 2016. The value of the gap year in the facilitation of career adaptability. South African Journal of Higher Education, 30(3):138‒155, doi:10.20853/30-3-631.
The original publication is available at http://www.journals.ac.za/index.php/sajhe
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This qualitative study examined the gap year experience of 11 first year Stellenbosch University students and its influence on the development of their adaptive career resources and preparedness. Phenomenological analysis was applied to data obtained through semi-structured interviews to identify overarching themes and subthemes within the data. This study found that engaging in a gap year facilitated formative personal growth and the acquisition of a variety of skills. These themes depicted increased career maturity and, in combination with an improved knowledge of the world of work, enabled the participants to construct a more confident identity and make informed career decisions. The findings indicate that a gap year appears to be useful for individuals to foster curiosity regarding future personal and career development and exercise career adaptability. This study signifies that a gap year can be utilised as a valuable life design opportunity for individuals to address career uncertainty and acquire a variety of skills to prepare them for subsequent formal study and career decision-making.
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