The Midlands is made up of the counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, although this varies depending on who you ask!
There are rural and urban areas and places to suit different tastes. If you want to be in a big city, Birmingham is the obvious choice – it's the largest city in the region. If you like a quiet life, Shropshire is one of the more rural counties with absolutely no cities and the best educational attainment in the West Midlands, as well as a wealth of lavender fields.
The Midlands is a good place to locate as it has an excellent transport infrastructure. Birmingham International airport is one of the UK's fastest growing regional airports and the Midlands are well placed at the centre of England's road and rail networks.
Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's birthplace is the definitive destination for theatre lovers in the Midlands. The Peak District is the place for outdoorsy types who fancy a hike in the hills.
If you prefer a less active day out, Hereford provides various cider-related excursions. Shropshire is a great rural retreat with scenic gardens, parks and castles to look at.
Birmingham and Nottingham are where to go if you want excellent shopping and the buzz of city life. Birmingham is also the British home of Balti cuisine, so try the Balti Triangle if you're hungry. If you’re looking for more excitement, you could try Staffordshire's Alton Towers.
Art lovers should head to Northampton, where the Fishmarket art gallery has been praised for its size and location. Alternatively, the Midlands Art Centre in Birmingham, which caters for all kinds of arts, is an excellent hang-out for artistic types. The centre has a theatre, cinema, classes in all sorts of cultural things and hosts a pile of events so there's something for everyone.
Living in the Midlands is, broadly speaking, cheaper than in London. As a general rule, the bigger cities such as Nottingham and Birmingham are more expensive than the more rural regions of the counties, particularly small towns in Staffordshire.
If you are moving somewhere with a big student community, check out the websites of local universities as there will often be good advice for finding affordable housing on there.
With so many large cities playing host to some of the world's biggest companies, and with some companies opting to move outside London to avoid soaring costs, you should have no problem finding the right employer for you in the Midlands region.
Wages are a little below the national average, but with lower living costs, it should be possible to make your salary stretch.
The Midlands generally enjoys good transport links (apart from a few inaccessible rural areas) and motorways such as the M1 and M6 run through the region. There are several airports, so there is no need to go to London if you need to fly and it's easy for companies based in the Midlands to reach international marketplaces.
The economy in the Midlands is generally strong and diverse. Up and coming sectors of employment include the automotive industry, electronics, food and drink, rubber and plastics, software, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, logistics, financial and business services and e-business, ICT and environmental technology. There is also the possibility of employment in the agricultural sector, with a great deal of land devoted to this in Lincolnshire.
Below are a few examples of employers with a base in the Midlands. (Note: these employers may not be currently recruiting. Their names have been provided as a guideline to the type of work available and areas to look in.)
1. Avon Cosmetics, Northampton (Administrative; Sales; Management)
Successful cosmetics company which has its head office in Northampton and is one of the world's leading direct-selling cosmetics companies.
2.Barclays plc, Coventry (Finance; Sales)
Barclays is one of the UK's leading banks and a lot of its operations are based in Coventry, including some of its graduate schemes.
3. BBC, Birmingham (Journalism; Media)
The BBC's base in Birmingham is one of its oldest regional branches. There are also branches in surrounding areas of the West Midlands. The BBC offers regular work experience placements as well as jobs in all aspects of journalism and programme making.
4. Cadbury Limited, Bournville (Finance; Sales; Technology; Engineering)
Blue-chip FTSE 100 company which creates household-name brands and is one of the top graduate employers in the West Midlands.
5. Capital One, Nottingham (Finance; Legal; IT)
Company dealing with credit cards, loans, banking and savings employing 27,000 people worldwide. One of the UK's top ten credit card issuers.
6. Gowling WLG, Birmingham (Legal; Administrative)
A full-service, global law firm which offers 30 training contracts each intake, and is consistently ranked as one of the UK’s 50 top workplaces.
7. HM Revenue and Customs, Nottingham (Civil Service)
A government department whose responsibilities include collecting taxes and National Insurance and paying state support such as Tax Credits. The department offers two graduate training schemes.
8. Jaguar Land Rover, throughout West Midlands (various, including Engineering; IT; Marketing; Legal)
An iconic British car manufacturer with headquarters in Coventry and multiple manufacturing plants throughout the Midlands, including one in Solihull which spans 300 acres and employs around 6,000 people.
9. Siemens, Nottingham (Engineering; Sales; IT)
This engineering company, headquartered in Germany, employs over 13,000 people in the UK.
10. Speedo International, Nottingham (various, including Sales; Legal)
Speedo is one of the brands owned by Pentland Brands plc, which offers graduate careers in Nottingham. Speedo is a well-known brand of swimwear which is used by both recreational and professional swimmers.
11. Vision Express, Lenton (Retail; Finance)
High street optician/optometrist which is also a leading retailer in fashion eyewear, selling spectacles, contact lenses and sunglasses.
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Browse vacancies and graduate jobs in the Midlands