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Why Belfast is One of the Best Cities for Graduate Employability

Why Belfast is One of the Best Cities for Graduate Employability main image

Sponsored by Queen’s University Belfast

With the lowest student rent rates in the UK and an impressive job outlook, Belfast is a promising city for graduates fresh out of university and looking for their first professional job.

We’ve teamed up with Queen’s University Belfast to find out why so many young people are looking to the Northern Irish capital for their next big move.

A start-up scene supporting graduate entrepreneurs

For every 1,000 inhabitants in Belfast, there are 38.5 new startups – making it the best city in the UK for entrepreneurial graduates. With more and more individuals deciding to take charge and be their own boss, there’s no better place to make your way in the world.

Renowned for its aerospace and shipbuilding history, Belfast today is a modern city packed full of entrepreneurial spirit and cutting-edge talent.

Queen’s University Belfast frequently supports SMEs throughout the city through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, where a three-way partnership is formed between the university, employer and graduate. The aim of the partnership is to bring a solution to the company, capitalizing on the recent graduate’s up-to-date knowledge and skillset.

Gift Sotonye-Frank, a PhD student in the School of Law and Queen's University Student of the Year 2019 enjoyed the Graduate School Kick Start Accelerator program at Queen’s so much she re-thought her career direction.

“I thought I knew what kind of career I wanted to pursue in the legal practice arena. However, with some of the programs/courses I have been part of such as the Graduate School Kick Start Accelerator program, it made me realize there are further opportunities that exist which I hadn’t thought of. For example, cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset and owning a business,” she said.

Great city for kickstarting your digital career

The digital job outlook in Belfast, in particular, is booming. A growing hub for global innovation, Belfast is full of people embarking on a career in the digital industry with the intention of having a genuine and long-lasting impact on business in the city.

Making the global digital space safer and faster is a top priority for Queen’s University’s Global Research Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT).

Belfast’s cyber-security industry is currently experiencing significant growth, and with the possibility of 5000 jobs being created in the city over the next few years, Queen’s is paving the way for the city’s cyber-security revolution.

The city’s university has industry connections across the city 

Ranked among the top 20 universities in the UK in the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2020, Queen’s University Belfast has also seen an impressive 96 percent of its graduates either in employment or further education within six months of graduating.

To help point students in the right direction, the university has established great connections and links with employers in Belfast and with companies across the world. The Graduate Recruitment Fair which is organized by Queen’s Careers, Employability and Skills team is a unique chance for final-year students and recent graduates to meet with local and global employers to discuss training and graduate opportunities in almost any field, such as law, healthcare, education, technology, and more.

Making the most of your university’s professional and dedicated careers team can also help in more ways than you may have realized. Cherry Li, studied MA in Interpreting at Queen’s University Belfast, and found the university’s career services invaluable when it came to helping her move into the world of employment after graduating.

“The Master Your Leadership (a Degree Plus program, free of charge and open to all postgraduates), competencies-based interview techniques workshop, one-on-one CV check and guidance, career fair and on-campus job experience were all very helpful as they helped me get a glimpse of the working culture and understand the local job market better.”

“They also helped me build networks in the local community,” she added.

Qingying Lin, another MA Interpreting graduate, echoed Cherry’s thoughts. She said: “I was eased into the local work environment equipped with competitive soft skills and a good understanding of my value.”

There are almost 900 international companies based in Belfast…

… providing plenty of opportunity to land a graduate job with exciting global prospects. 

Depending on your degree and area of interest – which could be anything from social work, business consulting, or healthcare, to media, the environment, IT, or engineering – the job outlook in the city is thriving with the likes of BBC Northern Ireland, PwC, Allstate, Deloitte, Citi Bank and the Big Lottery Fund all based here.

Lower living costs and great average starting salary

When you look at the city’s graduate friendly figures, it’s clear Belfast is a great place to realize your graduate potential. Having been voted the best region in the world to visit in 2018, the eighth most affordable university town in the UK, and a top 10 city in the Digital Economies of the Future, you can’t deny Belfast is a city to rival the likes of London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and Leeds when it comes to graduate employment prospects. 

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Written by Stephanie Lukins
As the Head of Sponsored Content for TopUniversities.com and TopMBA.com, Stephanie creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. She attended the University of Portsmouth where she earned a BA in English Language and an MA in Communication and Applied Linguistics.

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