The UK is consists of four countries – England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Just like the US, Canada, or any other popular study abroad destinations, there are a few particular favorite hot spots for international students. In this post, we will focus on the West Midlands, which is one of the top hotspots. Additionally, we will discuss why the West Midlands is a great choice for international students and the top universities in the West Midlands.
UK as a Global Education Hub
Historically the UK is among the top destinations for education. Important to emphasize the fact that students looking for higher education would consider among other things, the University’s global ranking, recognition of the degree given to successful students, employment opportunities post-qualification, teaching approach, and social acceptance of foreign students.
UK scores high, if not highest, on all these parameters. For Indian students’ familiarity with the language spoken in the country is an added advantage.
Why is West Midlands Gaining Popularity among International Students?
West Midland in the UK is gaining traction among international students due to several advantages it offers. Located in the middle of the country, all major cities of the UK are well connected. The capital city of London is in close proximity too.
The second biggest city in England, the city of Birmingham is located in this county, which is about 125 miles away from London. Apart from Birmingham, other well-known cities in West Midland are the city of Coventry, the boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall, and Wolverhampton.
Industries and Jobs in West Midlands
The region is globally known for Original Equipment Manufacturers and UK’s most active advanced engineering and manufacturing cluster. A wave of technologically advanced techniques for autonomous vehicles and intelligent transport networks as well as current automotive, rail, and aerospace product ranges, has helped push the region to the forefront of international patenting.
The West Midlands is also an internationally significant automotive hub, with 40% of all cars exported from the UK made in the region. Global innovators, such as Mondelēz International, Changan, Rolls-Royce, Tata, London Electric Vehicle Company (London taxis), and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), have made their homes here thanks to access to a strong, growing workforce and the closeness of world-leading R&D facilities.
Over recent decades the Birmingham economy has diversified into a service-based economy, with strong specializations in financial and insurance activities, education, health, retail, and transport. So many industries from multiple verticals around, the placement record of Universities in West Midland is better than other parts of the UK.
Growing Job Opportunities for International Students
The West Midlands Combined Authority has one of the fastest-growing economies of any Combined Authority in the country, with a GVA growth rate of 20.2% over the last five years.
Between 2014 and 2020, almost 4,300 new jobs were created by spinouts linked to Russell Group universities in the west midlands. Those 1,288 active companies had a combined turnover of £249m and brought £209m of investment to the region.
In addition to the high-value jobs created by their business spin-out activities, Russell Group universities in the West Midlands currently employ around 16,000 staff, an increase of 20.9% over the last 5 years.
With millions of pounds of inward investment planned over the next few years, the West Midlands is the perfect region for your job, placement, or internship search.
Along with some major players, small and medium-sized companies provide the backbone to the West Midlands economy and there is a strong export sector too, all offering exciting opportunities for graduates.
There are so many good reasons to stay in the Midlands once you have completed your degree: job opportunities are plentiful, living and traveling expenses are sensible and investment in industry, innovation, and infrastructure indicate a region that is confident of a bright future.
Top Job Categories in West Midlands along with Annual Median Salaries
- Software Engineering: £55,000
- Business Intelligence: £53,500
- Finance: £60,000
- Analyst: £42,500
- Analytics: £55,000
- IT Architect: £80,000
Lower Living Cost in West Midlands
As a student, the average cost of living in the UK is around £1000 to £1600 per month, including the rent. It can be different depending upon the place you are living. It varies based on the accommodation type like a single flat where you live alone is more expensive compared to a shared accommodation with a roommate.
Birmingham is an affordable city for students, with student halls in Birmingham costing between £75 to £195 per week, depending on location, decreasing as you move out of the city center. In comparison to London, the cost of living in Birmingham is 35% lower and that is of great advantage for the international students.
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Presence of Top Universities in West Midlands
There are 10 well-known universities in the county. Seven out of them are located in Birmingham. The first seven in the following list are located in the city of Birmingham and the remaining three are in other cities of the county:
- Aston University: One of the leading UK Universities known for its courses in Business and Technology. It is well known for stellar placement record for its students. Aston University has been ranked in the top 25 of UK institutions in the 2022 Guardian University Guide.
- University of Birmingham: Ranked 90th in the QS World University Rankings. The university traditionally had a special focus on science, engineering and commerce, as well as coal mining.
- Birmingham City University: Established as the Birmingham College of Art known for its courses in Art & Design, Media, Health.
- University College Birmingham: Itis well known for its courses in hospitality and the culinary arts, hairdressing and beauty, tourism, business enterprise, marketing, business management, accounting, finance, events management, sports management, sports medicine, and sports therapy.
- BPP University: It is a private university and offers education mainly in arts, science, engineering, & law.
- University of Law: The university is a specialist in legal training and continuing professional development courses for British barristers and solicitors.Apart from a campus at Birmingham, it has 8other campuses spread across UK and is the UK’s largest law school.
- Newman University: All of the University’s undergraduate programs include a mandatory ‘Work Placement’ module, allowing students to get experience in real-work settings. The university has a consistently high graduate employment rate of around ninety to ninety-five per cent.
- Coventry University: Located in Coventry and is well known for Automotive Engineering & Design courses. According to the Guardian University Guide, 2020, the university has been ranked at 15th position in the UK.
- University of Warwick: Located in the outskirt of Coventry. The University has 29 academic departments and over 50 research centers and institutes, in three Faculties: Arts, Science, Engineering, Medicine, and Business STudies & Social Sciences. Warwick is among the top 5 universities in the UK.
- University of Wolverhampton: The university is located in Wolverhampton with campuses in Telford and Walsall. Known for its courses in the area of Arts, Education, Health and Wellbeing, Science and Engineering, and Social Sciences.
Student and Alumni Speak on Studying in West Midlands as International Students
I am having great time here and the environment overall is propelling me to grow.– Pakshal Shah, University of Warwick (2021 Admit)
I had a great time while studying at Aston University (2008 – 2009) in Birmingham. Birmingham is very cosmopolitan and the living expenses are very student-friendly. The options for internships and part-time jobs (for international students) are excellent. Finally, being located in the heart of the UK, it’s very well-connected with the other parts of the UK.– Tanmoy Ray
There are several employment opportunities available to students in West Midland universities that are of real advantage to international students. Not only does it give you an opportunity to earn, but it also prepares you to get real-life work experience while studying. Some of the examples are the “Earn while you Learn” scheme at Birmingham City University, “Brum & Beyond” internships at the University of Birmingham, “Graduate Advantage Scheme” at Aston University, etc.