Gap Year – How companies and universities may fill the „Gap“

Gap Year wird in Unternehmen und an Hochschulen

Companies and universities are looking for young people who have the appropriate qualifications for their apprenticeships and study programs. In most cases though, they neglect one particular opportunity: the gap year! Googling the term „gap year“ leads to numerous providers of work-and-travel offers, au-pair programs or language tours. Indeed, the „gap“ between the end of school and the beginning of training or study is the perfect time to spend an extended period of time abroad to get to know a new culture or to deepen certain language skills. By now, a suitable program is available for everyone who wants to go abroad after school.

But what about the school leavers who would like to stay in the country? There is quite a number of young people who would like to do so. This is where you could step in as a recruiter. Why wait until future generations apply for an apprenticeship or a university course? Why not find potential apprentices and students earlier? As a company or university, offer a gap year program that allows you to really get to know the participants and at the end of the day you will know whether you would like to offer them an apprenticeship or a university place.

Gap Year Orientation programs at universities

Many universities have been pursuing this approach for a few years now and offer a variety of guidance programs. These range from trial weeks and orientation semesters to a complete orientation year. Due to the shortened length of schooling, some first-year students today are not even of legal age and, according to the observations of many academic advisors, are still quite uncertain and therefore often grateful for this kind of orientation year.


Overview: orientation years at german universities (German)


More than just an internship

Things are different for companies when it comes to the gap year. Although many companies offer internships, most of them are not interested in really getting to know the young people and to see whether a later apprenticeship or a dual course of study could make sense for both parties. On the one hand, they miss out on the opportunity to introduce themselves as an employer, which is a big deal in the age of employer branding. On the other hand, they neglect to find and retain talent at an early stage.


No matter if you are a university or a company, as a recruiter you should use the gap year between school and education or study to your advantage by developing special programs for the young target group. If possible, try to create something new with a focus on getting to know each other. Design your own advertising material for the new program and introduce it at training and study fairs or special gap year fairs.


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