Working in the Black Country

Use this information to expand your knowledge of the Black Country.

As opportunities rise again, consider working further afield from where you live. The region is a well-connected and exciting place to live and work.

""

Information on the Black Country

Dudley Metropolitan Borough

The Dudley Metropolitan Borough (DMB) consists of Stourbridge, Halesowen and Dudley.

Stourbridge

Stourbridge is one of the large towns in the DMB and is known for its education provision and publishing houses. It is well connected to Birmingham and the wider West Midlands with Stourbridge Junction and Town train stations as well as the large bus station.

Historically, it was home to a bustling glass making industry, notably Stuart Crystal, most of the glass trade in the town now exists in English Heritage sites and museums such as the Red House Glass Cone. The town is also home to many educational institutions providing roles in the education, such as King Edward VI College, and Oldswinford Hospital School and Sixth Form. Coupling Stourbridge’s two historical sectors of glass and education is Ruskin Mill which for over 30 years has provided specialist independent education to children and adults with complex needs.

Stourbridge is also home to a large industrial estate and many small businesses. There are roles in the digital communications as well as publishing as Stourbridge is also home to Stourbridge, Halesowen and Dudley News which publish the region's local newspapers. They are currently based in Copthall House on the ring-road which encircles the town.

Halesowen

The town is home to the large Halesowen College which provides a wide range of courses, especially vocational studies to a large catchment area in the Black Country. This provides a boost to the economy and great opportunities for those interested in education. The town is also home to a wide range of businesses but specifically the UK headquarters of Sandvik (a high-technology engineering company specialising in tools) which offers roles in advanced engineering and technology.

Dudley

The Merry Hill shopping Centre is one of the largest shopping centres in the UK, whilst the Black Country Living Museum, Dudley Canal Trust and Dudley Zoo and Castle account for a large proportion of the tourism to the town. There are two Large Hotels in the region, The Village and The Copthorne supporting the hospitality sector. 

Dudley town is the administrative centre of the borough providing employment at DMB Council. It is home to the borough’s large district General Russell’s Hall Hospital. The Dudley NHS trust provides jobs in healthcare as well as those in medical science and community care.

The Dudley Business and Enterprise Zone, provides jobs in the business, professional and financial services Sector. ‘DY5’ offers businesses looking to invest and expand with an exciting opportunity to relocate to an exclusive waterfront location. Accessibility to this area will improve with the extension of the Midlands Metro into the town and towards the Merry Hill Waterfront complex.

Sandwell

Sandwell is an area to the West of the City of Birmingham, easily reachable by public transport. One of its busiest train stations – Sandwell and Dudley – brings you to the heart of Sandwell’s industrial heritage with many manufacturing firms in Oldbury Road and Albion Industrial Estates.

Sandwell is the home of West Bromwich Albion Football Club. As well as roles directly related with the football club such as sport scientists, academy performance analysis and coaching, the club houses a team of commercial related roles in partnerships, advertising and sales. 

With access to green land, Sandwell is home to many golf clubs including Dudley Golf Club and Rowley Golf Club, both based in Rowley Regis, a district within Sandwell. Additionally, the Sandwell area is in close proximity to Handsworth and Hilltop Golf courses.

The Black Country Living Museum is the largest and one of the most well-known heritage attractions in nearby Dudley. Sandwell is also home to note-worthy heritage sites including Manor House Museum, Oak House Museum, Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery and more. These historical sites are looked after by Sandwell Museums with potential for volunteering and placement roles.

Wolverhampton Metropolitan Borough

Wolverhampton is a city and metropolitan borough in the North West of the West Midlands County with a diverse business community.

Wolverhampton has a history in engineering and manufacturing, particularly in steel, iron, and automobiles. Now, the service sector dominates the local economy. This lies in public administration, education and health, logistics, food and drink, finance, and IT.

City of Wolverhampton Council is the largest single employer in the borough. The council is part of the NGDP scheme, National Graduate Development Programme for local government authorities.

Wolverhampton is also home to the University of Wolverhampton and City of Wolverhampton College, with the later serving local students and those from the wider West Midlands and South Staffordshire region.

The Birmingham Midshires was a building society prominent in the Midlands and headquartered in Wolverhampton. It is currently an online banking service owned by Lloyds Banking Group, including mortgages and insurance. The finance industry in Wolverhampton includes many reputable independent accountants and financial advisors serving the business community and local consumers such as Charter Court Financial Services who have been included in The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For.

Marston’s brewery and pub chain are headquartered in Wolverhampton, one of the biggest food and drink employers in the region. Marston’s headquarters has a variety of business operational roles such as company secretariat, customer services, estates, EPOS, support, finance, human resources, people development, training, marketing, purchasing and sales.

In the North of Wolverhampton, an aerospace cluster which includes Moog Aircraft Group, HS Marston Aerospace and Collins Aerospace, who recently merged from UTC Aerospace Systems, Rockwell Collins and B/E Aerospace, are based within commuting distance from the city.

Closer to Wolverhampton city, Aero Market and Pattonair are also gathered in close proximity. The aerospace industry has large operations which involve numerous departments such as communications, digital technologies, environmental health, engineering, human resources and international finance.

Between the boundaries of Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire is the i54 Advanced Manufacturing, Technology, Training and Innovation centre. Organisations such as Eurofin Laboratories, International Security Printers (ISP) and Jaguar Land Rover’s engine manufacturing are based at the business park.

Metropolitan Borough of Walsall

Walsall is part of the Black Country, famous for being the heart of the industrial revolution, which has transformed into a modern community. The borough is centred on Walsall town but also covers Bloxwich, Aldridge, Willenhall, Darlaston and Brownhills.

Walsall Council is one of the largest employers in the Metropolitan Borough of Walsall and part of the NGDP scheme, National Graduate Development Programme for local government authorities. Major divisions at Walsall Council include business, children and young people, education, health and social care, and libraries as well as typical services such as bins and council tax. The council also has provisions in education psychology and SEN (special educational needs).

Walsall College offers apprenticeships, adult learning, English as a second language and vocational careers training. The college’s size and scale of programmes offered gives rise to various teaching opportunities and professional roles such as administration, HR, PR and marketing. Walsall Academy is another institute in the area and has train to teach and non-teaching support roles.

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust is the largest healthcare employer in the Walsall area. Roles include health science services, support and operational roles in addition to nursing, dentistry and medicine. There are regular volunteering roles available to support in patient and visitor welcomes, office administration and keeping patient company. 

Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust provide services for all ages from children to adults across the community. In addition to healthcare services, the trust provides translation and interpretation for non-English speakers and those who have visual or hearing impairments. Due to the speciality of this trust, there are roles in allied health professions such as occupational therapy, psychological wellbeing practitioners and psychologists. Specialist psychiatric and adult mental health nurses are also sort after.

The New Art Gallery Walsall is owned and ran by Walsall Council, housing historic, modern and contemporary art. The gallery replaces the old gallery with additional arts library, exhibition and education space to bring regeneration to the local area. The gallery includes an interactive art space which is designed for young visitors and families. Volunteering and work experience roles may be available at the gallery along with artist residencies.

Sector strengths

  • Advanced Manufacturing (including Aerospace)
  • Cyber security/metrics

(Source: Midlands Engine independent Economic Review, Feb 2020)

In the West Midlands, there are key sectors that are driving the region’s growth (now and in the future) leading to higher wage graduate jobs. Our diverse economy is a key strength. Find out about these growing sectors to broaden your career options. The West Midlands is home to leaders in finance, life sciences, digital, automotive and aerospace  - and more. Visit the West Midlands Growth Company website for more info.

How to use this information

Make a speculative application

Sometimes jobs are created based on who you know, and making a speculative application for work experience or a job is positive move, rather than waiting for the right job to come along. It offers a way of getting an entry through the door and getting noticed. 

Research companies in the area

Online search engines provide a quick way to search for employers, particularly to make speculative applications and searching companies to find specific jobs you’re interested in. 

  • If you can’t find the graduate job or work experience you want and know what you enjoy, strengths you possess, and skills you can contribute to an organisation, approach them by email with a speculative letter and CV.  Tips on speculative applications can be found on the speculative application preparation page.
  • Organisations located in the West Midlands region are listed on various sites to research, e.g. Best Companies; and Glassdoor.
  • Use LinkedIn to find, follow and research companies.
  • Access the FAME database to research businesses via findit@bham.
  • Industry journals advertising permanent vacancies provide a great insight into employers working in a sector and how to get in touch.
  • Read local newspapers and find out which companies are winning awards.
  • Industry professional bodies often provide details of organisations working in a particular field/sector.
  • Lecturers and other contacts may be able to give advice and contact details of local companies they collaborate with and individuals.
  • Facebook can also be useful in finding out more about an organisation.

Using Careers Connect to find job opportunities

For current students

Log into Careers Connect to find work, accessing West Midlands graduate jobs as well as internships and work experience opportunities not just in the UK, but nationally and internationally. 

Introduction to Careers Connect video transcript

For alumni

If you are a University of Birmingham graduate, you will need register for a graduate account. More information can be found on the graduate introduction to Careers Connect page.

Other West Midlands regional information

Colleges

Professional Services