More Irish students are booking flights to Australia to do voluntary work on their gap year.
This is according to figures from the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship, which revealed that the number of Irish gappers coming into the country has risen by a third this year.
Almost 23,000 Irish students secured an Australian working holiday visa in the six months to June, which is an increase from 2008’s figure of 17,000.
One of these is Noel Kelly, a worker from County Louth, who explained that the recession had provided him with the "perfect opportunity".
"It is ideal; to work and travel and enjoy the sun" he said.
Year Out Group chief executive Richard Oliver commented that a gap year is beneficial because it gives a person important skills that are noticed by employers, such as working in teams and risk management.
Ireland’s unemployment rate currently stands at just over 12 percent, meaning that many people are opting for a year abroad.
Direct Travel Insurance recently reported a 25 percent increase in the number of backpacker policies it has sold.