Step ahead – make your mark.


It’s that time of year when students and parents are thinking about the end of the school year, and for many, the end of school altogether and their first steps into the wider world. For some that may mean University, for others; their first steps into the workplace. Some may be considering a gap year travelling to different corners of the world. Whatever the hopes and dreams of students may be, they will be hoping they made the most of their time at high school, setting themselves up to make their mark on the world.

When considering applying for jobs, as a young person, it can often be daunting knowing that you have little work experience to offer. Too often young people describe how they feel it is hard to gain a foot in the door in increasingly competitive fields.

One thing that students should consider to set them apart in their applications is their extracurricular activities. That is, those programs which they took upon with their own initiative and completed with hard work and personal drive.

Taking on a challenging experience such as an overseas expedition, is a credible way of gaining real skills for the workforce. A trip with World Challenge offers the opportunity to develop leadership, communication and budgeting skills as well as improving your knowledge about the world.

According to job website Seek, employers are increasingly taking into account activities such as volunteering, which show that the individual:

“cares about a cause, learns or puts into practice new skills, can manage their time to give back and makes a difference.”1

Our colleagues in the UK recently completed a study that asked businesses what they think makes job applicants stand out from the crowd. 500 responses from micro to medium business were recorded and some of the key findings were as follows:

  • 70% of businesses said that evidence of participation in these activities makes candidates stand out from the crowd.
  • Nearly two thirds of businesses say that candidates with extra-curricular experience tend to be more successful employees.
  • Excellent communication is the most desirable skill according to 78% of businesses in the study. 2

From our own experience we have seen that many students who undertake a World Challenge expedition grow immensely in terms of confidence and interpersonal skills.

“You learn to expect the unexpected, achieve things you thought were unobtainable, challenge yourself more than is comfortable and experience all the joy, pain, frustration, shock, happiness, excitement, anxiety and freedom that comes from living the reality. I say reality not dream because it’s up to you to make it more than a dream” Giselle Pickering, Challenger. Expedition to Vietnam and Cambodia, 2014.

“From the perspective of a teacher, seeing the girls grow as both individuals and as a group was fantastic. Throughout the trip you could almost pinpoint a moment for each student that made them more resilient or more confident in their own abilities.” Emily Hamilton, Shelford Girls’ Grammar Teacher. Expedition to Costa Rica and Nicaragua, 2014.

You cPages-from-World_Challenge_Step_Aheadan download a full copy of the ‘Step Ahead’ study by visiting








  1. “Those that put their hand up stand out” Amanda Robinson May 18, 2015 from ‘Candidate Insights’
  2. “Step Ahead” World Challenge October 19, 2015.