StatsCan analyzes students’ choices

Rafe Arnott/metro Vancouver


Photo editor Jennifer Gilecki, right, took three years off before post-secondary studies while image quality controller Tina Wilson did not take a break after high school.

People who take time off between high school and post-secondary school have a higher employment rate after college, but earn less money than peers who go straight to college or university.

This is according to a study, Taking Time Off Between High School And Postsecondary Education: Determinants And Early Labour Market Outcomes, released yesterday by Statistics Canada.

It found that while gappers (youth who take a break after high school) in 2003 had an 8-per-cent higher employment rate than non-gappers, the latter earned about $4,000 more annually.

Vancouver resident Jennifer Gilecki, 27, a photo editor, took three years off between high school and college to work and decide what she wanted to do.

“There was no rush,” she said. “I wasn’t pressured by my parents.”

Eventually she went to college and took photographic technology and got her first job as a photographer’s assistant for $14 an hour.

Tina Wilson, 27, an image quality controller, was pressured by her parents to go to straight to the University of B.C., where she studied anthropology.

“I didn’t really consider job prospects after finishing,” she said, adding she travelled after graduating and has never used her degree.

She started at about $38,000 a year when she got into photography, but said she’s thinking of going back to school.


  • Close to 80 per cent of youth whose parents didn’t pressure them to go to post-secondary school were more likely to be gappers pathway.

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