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Durham University

Careers & Enterprise Centre

The North East Graduate Employment Landscape

Student and Graduate Opportunities in North East England

The North East of England offers career opportunities in a diverse range of sectors, and it is consistently the second most popular region in which Durham University graduates live and work after their studies. Practical aspects such as the lower cost of housing and living hold a definite appeal for graduates to remain here, alongside the area’s friendly reputation, stunning scenery and lifestyle offering. Read more about graduates building careers in the local area on the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) ‘live, work and stay’ web page.

Large graduate recruiters such as PwC, KPMG, P&G, GSK, Nissan and Aecom have a base in the region and typically advertise student and graduate opportunities. Large employers in the area are focused around the public and health sectors, with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) dominating the private sector.

Below is a selection of websites for students and graduates to explore advertised work experience and employment opportunities in the local area;

Don't be afraid to approach companies - not all opportunities are advertised! Read our guidance on speculative applications, networking and using social media in your job search. Use the “Business Centres in County Durham” document in ‘related links’ to research the vast array of local businesses.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) offer graduates an exciting opportunity to work in collaboration with a host employer and an academic institution. Find out more about Durham University KTPs and access a database of opportunities via Innovate UK.

DICE Internships (Durham Internships & Collaborative Enterprise)

Careers & Enterprise is working with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) of less than 250 staff in County Durham, to establish ERDF sponsored paid internships available for all students, across any year of study and recent graduates. For more details see DICE internships or contact

Start-Up Scene

The North East is a great place to launch a business and has a thriving start-up scene. Start-ups are attracted to the region due to financial advantages of locating here, as well as to access great support services and to join its active start-up community. The North East has cheaper business premises and lower living costs compared to the rest of the country which reduces the financial burden on new businesses. There is also good access to finance to help fund the growth of your business with the North East Fund and Finance Durham Fund both making significant investments to support early stage businesses. There is a strong and supportive community of start-up businesses in region, accessible through; Digital Union, Mussell Club and Tus Park amongst others. Finally, by locating in the North East you have access to a wide range of support to help you launch and grow your business. Providers include; Durham University Careers & Enterprise, Digital City, Sunderland Software City and Generator. A full list of support and funding opportunities can be found on the North East Growth Hub.

If you’re interested in launching a new business, Careers & Enterprise can support you to achieve your ambitions. Please see our website for more information or contact Rachel Bickerdike, Enterprise Manager.

Tips for keeping up-to-date with local events, news and opportunities

  • Sign up to relevant e-bulletins and newsletters (e.g. Business Durham's BDaily) and follow relevant local pages and groups on social media
  • Watch out for careers events at Durham University with a North East focus (previous insight events include ‘Working in the North East forum’, ‘Regional Law in the North East’, ‘Northern Consulting Conference’) – activities vary each year and may be hosted by Careers & Enterprise, departments, colleges and societies.
  • Attend local networking events: Business Durham, North East Growth Hub, North East Chamber of Commerce, opportunities at local business parks, colleges, universities and employer sites.
  • Explore expo events and conferences North East Expo, Venturefest North East, Show Your Mussel, EMCON(engineering and manufacturing) and Tech Talent.