Where should you start your career? In focus: Milton Keynes
Conceived and planned as a modern town, and founded in the 1960s, Milton Keynes, in Buckinghamshire, benefits from well-organised development, plenty of green spaces, and strong environmental principles. Close by is Bletchley Park, the wartime centre for codebreaking. The town is affectionately known as 'MK'.
Many of the town's residents commute into London for work, but you might not need to travel that far. Statistics show that Milton Keynes is one of the most prosperous towns in the south-east, with wages above the national average. Over the last decade, the number of available jobs has increased rapidly as more businesses move in.
Many large companies have their headquarters in or around Milton Keynes, providing jobs at all levels in sectors including managerial, administrative and clerical, logistics, and more. Look for graduate opportunities in banking, sales, advertising, and other areas of business. There are science, technology and research jobs on offer, as well as jobs in higher education at the town's universities and colleges.
Because Milton Keynes was designed to be pedestrian and cyclist friendly, it's easy to get around on the shared use pathways, which are well lit and situated away from the roads. The town's grid system means you're never too far from a bus stop. Driving might be a different story, however. The town's convoluted roundabout system is a national legend.
When you need to travel further afield, the M1 motorway is close by, and the A5 runs through the town. The town's position was chosen in part because the location is equidistant from London, Birmingham, Oxford, and Cambridge, putting these cities within easy reach. Milton Keynes is well served by trains, coaches and buses.
The south-east of England is the most expensive area of the country for housing, and Milton Keynes is no exception, with prices still on the rise. It is possible to find affordable accommodation, however. The town's population is young, and a sizeable proportion of the property market is aimed at graduates and first-time buyers.
Starter homes, affordable housing, and help to buy schemes have made Milton Keynes a first step on the property ladder for many. The rental market is also thriving. Rent may be slightly higher than the national average, but at least, there's no shortage of accommodation, and the average wage is correspondingly higher too.
Dining and entertainment
Milton Keynes is home to just about every chain restaurant you might fancy, and you won't have to walk too far to reach an eatery. There are plentiful pubs and bars, whether you're after a meal, a quick drink after work, or somewhere to hold up for the evening. If you're looking for a smaller, family run restaurant, head out to one of the surrounding market towns for your hit of Indian, Italian, or Chinese cuisine.
On the culture front, there's a theatre as well as a cinema complex, an art gallery, and both indoor and outdoor venues for live music. Adrenaline junkies can try out the dry ski slope, or even indoor skydiving. Shoppers can browse the shopping centre, while nature lovers can get away from it all in the surrounding countryside.