SIXTH formers who have flunked their A levels and have missed out on a university place shouldn’t worry, says a former Wiltshire student.

That’s what happened to Harry Richardson, 18, from Bradford on Avon. After not getting the grades he needed to go to university, he took a year out.

Harry said: “When I received my A-level results they weren’t what I was expecting, so I decided I wanted to take some time out before further education.”

Harry decided to volunteer in Nepal for 10-weeks with sustainable development charity Raleigh International.

Living and working in a rural community, Harry worked alongside Nepali volunteers in the villages of Chapthok and Adhikari Gaun on a housebuilding project in the wake of the Nepal earthquake.

Mr Richardson said: “We were tasked with helping to build earthquake resilient homes for those most in need following the destruction of the 2015 earthquake.

“Working together with the local community we also provided opportunities for local community members to learn how to build their own earthquake-resilient homes.”

“It has been a brilliant experience living in and becoming part of the community, immersing myself in the new culture and appreciating the differences.

“Getting to know the locals and learning about their lives and their families has been key to the experience. Working alongside the families who would receive the houses we are building together has been most rewarding.”

After coming home, Harry is now preparing to re-sit his A-levels with the hope of going on to study at university.

He said: “Raleigh provided an opportunity to make good use of my time off, and also gave me time to think about my next steps, whether it be university or a career.

“I now plan to re-sit two A-levels to get into university. My expedition experience has also made me reconsider my degree choice, and I’m now interested in studying Geography in addition to History.”

Harry’s father, Nick Richardson, has seen a transformation in his son since his Raleigh Expedition and credits his volunteer experience with the change.

Mr Richardson said: “Volunteering with Raleigh International provided a focus for him. It’s not just travelling – it’s learning the skills of being out there on your own, planning the trip and doing fundraising.

“It’s about putting life in perspective and gaining new skills – I think that’s what Harry did and he’s a lot happier and more focused for it.”

Raleigh International Expeditions allow young people aged 17-24 to contribute to long-term development projects in Borneo, Nepal, Tanzania and Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

The programme offers young people the chance to develop personally and learn about teamwork and leadership on projects that are of genuine value to communities around the world.

To find out more about Raleigh International Expeditions or to apply, visit or call 020 7183 1270.