If you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life, as Samuel Johnson famously wrote. We’d admit that we are not yet tired of the energy and opportunity of the capital, but nor are we 100% sure that the best bet for young people is to focus all their energies there. As a company helping young people to launch their career journey, we have chosen to start out with one foot also firmly planted in the great city that gave us our own personal momentum: Birmingham.
Our Course Director, Alex Webb, spent 4 years at Birmingham University studying Sports Science, then a PGCE in PE and Maths. “The opportunities I had during my years in Birmingham were fantastic. As someone who loved sport, I had Edgbaston Cricket ground, the NEC and the NIA all on my doorstep. I spent my summers here working at sport camps, which helped build my confidence to enter the world of teaching. Birmingham is not only a place where I learnt my trade; it’s a great city, full of arts, entertainment, sports, restaurants, great universities and schools. I often return just to play in a local charity netball tournament and I love coming back.”
Our Lead Facilitator, Charlie Welch, studied Geography at Birmingham University and worked in the city for a year afterwards: – “You are perfectly positioned to have the best of city life and yet be so close to the canals or the beautiful countryside when you need to escape. The people were brilliant, so kind, down-to-earth and full of fun!”
Birmingham definitely has a buzz, and a strong sense of economic momentum. As London becomes more expensive and more difficult to navigate, businesses are looking elsewhere. Birmingham’s position bang in the middle of the country, with great transport connections, makes it a fantastic choice.
HSBC is in the process of moving its headquarters to Birmingham, and Deutsche Bank has also expanded there. London Midland has opened an innovation centre for technology start-ups. The HS2 railway development will bring or safeguard 104 000 jobs; it will create 2000 apprenticeships, and it will mean the West Midlands contributes an extra £14 billion to the UK economy.
So if you’re young and ambitious, Birmingham is looking like a good place to go about building your future. It’s friendly and supportive, too: a recent graduate writes that ‘the business community is incredibly inclusive and supportive of young talent’. An outstanding example of this is BPS Birmingham Aspire , which offers students and early-career professionals low-cost mentoring, professional development and networking skills. It links young people up with experienced local mentors who can help them move in the right direction.
Birmingham’s local recruiters also work hard to help young people get a foot in the door and build their employability. SimkissGuy Recruitment, for example, supports an impressive array of community causes and is a committed friend to young people early in their careers and to graduates in business.
Starting your career here makes sense: Birmingham is a city with an identity and a sense of community. Locals really care about making it a great place to live and do business in. And it seems to be working: recent research put Birmingham at number three in the top ten cities for happiness at work (London didn’t make the top ten).
In 2015, more than 6000 people left London for Birmingham. And presumably, they are not bored. There’s a good deal of fun going on. Birmingham has comedy, poetry and literature festivals, top-notch theatres and galleries, amazing food, more than 100 parks, and (take note Londoners) a functional and relatively efficient public transport system.
Nor is Birmingham short on universities. There is, of course, The University of Birmingham, a world-renowned Russell Group member with a huge research footprint. Aston University, Birmingham City University, Newman University and University College Birmingham also produce highly skilled graduates. This should be a strong talent pool for employers to draw on, as well as a source of energy and creativity for the life of the city.
At the moment, though, a lot of these talented graduates leave to work elsewhere. Out of the graduates who move to Birmingham for their studies, 76% are ‘bouncers’: they leave to work in another city immediately after they finish their studies. We would love to work with companies of all sizes to try and improve the graduate offering: hanging on to more of these talented young people could make a profound difference to Birmingham’s success as a business destination.
We are really excited to make our own business growth part of Birmingham’s story. If you’re a young person feeling stuck career-wise, have a look at our Flying Start Bootcamp for business skills in Birmingham on 24-28 July 2017: you can book your place here.
If you’re a company looking to make your graduates, apprentices and interns work-ready faster, we’d love to have a chat about how we could help.
Flying Start XP works with companies and individuals to deliver training courses designed to help young people by rapidly instilling the essential business skills and behaviours needed to become a valued team player. This enables managers to delegate and trust early starters quicker. We know investing in and developing early careers delivers long-term results. Follow us on LinkedIn for the latest news and great offers on our courses.