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Gap years are big business. It is estimated that £995 million is spent by British parents a year to fund these once in a lifetime trips. But are they helpful? With the debate still raging about whether gap years are the best use of time for our young people it’s a contentious issue.

Research carried out by Foreign Exchange World First has found that up to 88% of those who take part in a gap year believe it adds to their employability. But is this the truth? The benefits are clear, as the old adage goes travel broadens the mind and experiences of different cultures can only be a good thing.

In fact the only thing that can be said for staying on in education without a break is the high probability of being in full time employment quicker, and in the grand scheme of things is that what any of us really wants?

Take a look below at a graphic which has some interesting stats on the gap year phenomenon and why its such a big industry.

An infographic by World First