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Friday, 15 December, 2000, 11:55 GMT
Gap year students 'sexually harassed'
Bar work and waitering were the most popular jobs
Male students say they are more likely to suffer sexual harassment while working abroad during a gap year than women.

Of 509 16-24 year olds surveyed for the BBC Essentials website, one in 20 had been sexually harassed - with almost twice as many young men as women being targeted.

We wouldn't want to put people off, we're just asking them to be aware and to do their research

Mel Garfield
The survey also suggested that up to half were paid low wages, with a third receiving below the UK minimum wage for workers aged between 18 and 21 of 3.20 an hour.

Women were more likely to be on the receiving end of a poor pay packet - 46% as opposed to 17% of boys.

One in 10 of those surveyed did not receive a penny of the pay they were due.

And more than a third complained of working long hours, while a further 14% claimed to have been badly treated by their local workmates.


"I don't think people should be discouraged - travelling is a great experience in terms of personal development," spokeswoman Mel Garfield said.

"We wouldn't want to put people off, we're just asking them to be aware and to do their research."

The most popular jobs were bar work and waiting on tables, with a third of respondents having taken up such posts.

Office work was the choice of 14% of respondents, with childcare and teaching each taking a 12% share.

Gap year popularity

But, despite the findings, more students were opting to take a gap-year between A-level study and university, statistics from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) suggested.

Among students offered places for the autumn term of 2000, there was a 7% increase in those deferring their courses for a year, bringing the number of gap year students to 22,073.

And with the recent coverage of Prince William's character-building experiences with a Raleigh International expedition in Chile, the gap year trend looks set grow.

BBC Essentials is a joint venture between BBC Education and Radio 1. The website has a travel section offering advice to young people who are considering travelling abroad.

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16 Aug 00 | UK
Get ahead, get a year out
13 Sep 00 | Education
More students opt for 'gap year'
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