North or South? – Where I’m looking for graduate jobs

This coming September will begin the long slog of graduate applications for every scheme under the Sun that sounds mildly appealing and relevant to my interests/course. It’s a scary thought, especially when you consider that you will be living in a completely new area for at least a year or two, depending on the scheme, and maybe even longer.

This has been something that’s been on my mind since second year. It wasn’t I considered as much during my placement applications as there was only going to be one year before I headed back to familiarity. However, this time it will be different as until my next job application which may be a few years down the line, wherever my graduate job ends up being will be where I begin my adult life.

The South (excluding London)
I’ve already crossed London off the list. Going to university just 20 minutes from Kings Cross and having a boyfriend at LSE, it means I spend a lot of time in the capital city and I am already over it. Of course zones 2 and 3 have the charm and aren’t as hectic as the centre, but dealing with TFL and those eye-watering rents and mouldy box rooms, I don’t want to be re-creating my student lifestyle for another few years on a salary which is pretty similar to the ones available for the rest of the country – this is for engineering, I know for many other courses the salary in London can be quite drastically increased.
My dream city for living would be Bristol, with a strong aerospace presence and distinctive feels around the city, it has been calling me since I was young. My family originally came to England and lived in Gloucestershire, so I do have a fondness for the West of England.
Another strong option is Stevenage, 20 minutes from my current university and also a commutable distance from my family home. It makes living in the south actually affordable and gives me a great option for saving money. There are some attractive companies here as well such as Airbus and MBDA, as well as being a great place to take the train to visit others.

The North
My current placement is with a small branch of a larger company that has large branches in Preston, Lancashire and Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria (when I said the North, I meant the north North). Either of these options are places I have not been, although I have been to Blackpool once when I was eight…
These sites are massive and have huge graduate schemes, and other companies are in these areas so job options aren’t too limited. The salary (it isn’t everything, but doesn’t hurt) is also the same for the roles up here compared to the office sites down south, meaning way more bang for my buck, with studio flats starting from £375 upwards.
Sites up north give me chance to save a lot more towards my future, and actually gives me chance to afford anything when I venture back south after a few years of gaining experience, and maybe even going through with chartership up there first so I can get a better paying role down south.
There are issues with the north, which are more related to the general treatment of the north than the government than my own ideas. The transport is generally a lot more spaced out and just doesn’t compare to the south, with the thought of visiting friends and family looking like a daunting task. It also looks more likely that I would need to get a car again (planning on selling mine before it breaks even more and I have to throw more money at it), and I would rather save my money for a well-located property once I head back down south.

All in all, I’m happy with either option, but each one does give me some less than desirable issues. Overall, as long as it’s not in the middle of nowhere, and the job is something I really want to do, living somewhere new in the UK for a few years will be exciting no matter what.

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