Where should you start your career? In focus: Cardiff
With a thriving restaurant and bar scene and a wealth of job prospects, Cardiff is the ideal place to start your life after university.
Employment Opportunities in Cardiff
Jobs in Cardiff, the Welsh capital, are available in a variety of industries. For those beginning their job search in the financial arena, companies such as Legal and General, Admiral Insurance, The AA, Zurich, HBOS and ING Direct all have offices or headquarters in the city. Those looking for graduate jobs elsewhere will find opportunities in the energy and utilities sector, the food and beverage industry, in luxury hotels (St David's Hotel and Spa was the first 5* hotel in Wales), in the media, in retail, with transport companies, and more. Although Cardiff is home to just 10% of the Welsh population, it's the powerhouse behind 20% of Welsh GDP, meaning that opportunities for new graduates beginning their job search are good. Originally built on coal, iron, and steel, today Cardiff is a modern city, and is the centre of finance and business services in Wales.
Getting Around in Cardiff
Cardiff Railway station is the largest in Wales, with over 10 million passengers a year. The city is well connected to other parts of Wales and the UK as a whole. In terms of getting around in the city itself, the Valley Lines suburban railway has eight lines which connect 26 stations in the wider urban area and 20 stations within Cardiff. Cardiff Bus runs a large number of bus routes in the city, effectively linking outlying areas with the city centre, as well as running routes to the airport. Meanwhile, National Express and Megabus serve destinations further afield. Cardiff Airport is also the only airport with international flights which depart from Wales.
Despite being a national capital, Cardiff is a surprisingly budget-friendly place to live. Those in secure employment looking to make their first move onto the property ladder will be happy to discover that a pretty two bedroomed apartment overlooking Cardiff Bay can be had for less than the price of a London houseboat (!), while a similar property could be rented for just under £700 a month - perfect for couples or flatmates. Clearly, new graduates who don't mind continuing the communal living that's so common at university - and increasingly in the long years that follow - will find that city centre house shares are a very affordable option.
Dining and Entertainment in Cardiff
When it comes to restaurants in Cardiff, you're spoiled for choice. For tasty, filling, on-the-go snacks, head to student favourite The Falafel Kitchen on Crwys Road, while the city's best hangover-curing breakfasts and brunches are to be had at the Cosy Club. Delicious and authentic Indian food straight from the streets of Mumbai is best enjoyed at Mint and Mustard, while Caffe Citta serves up pizza that will make you want to bin that gluten-free lifestyle for good. Cardiff's Burger and Lobster is a does-what-it-says-on-the-tin kind of place, but what is does, it does extremely well. Other city favourites include Bangkok Cafe, Milk and Sugar (gluten free cakes! In many exotic and delicious flavours!), the Vegetarian Food Studio, Crumbs Kitchen, Nata & Co Portuguese bakery, The New York Deli, and Milgi. In short, eating out in Cardiff is amazing.
Aside from dining, the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Castle and Cardiff Bay are all excellent places to take visitors. Festivals also take place throughout the year, with some of the most popular including The Great British Cheese Festival and Cardiff Mardi Gras. The city also has a lively nightlife scene, thanks in part to the large student population. Queen Street is the city's major shopping destination - think Oxford Street style shops, but without the crowds - while the Welsh National Opera is also based in the city.