Bedford lies in the east of England, and is the county town of Bedfordshire. Historically, it enjoyed a successful wool and lace trade, which gave way to the brewing industry. In the 19th century, it was transformed into a major engineering hub.
The current population is estimated at around 85,000, and the town is a popular place to live for commuters to London, Milton Keynes, and various towns in Cambridgeshire in Northamptonshire.
The average salary is £36,000, and the unemployment rate is slightly higher than the UK average at 5%. However, local government have a strategy to continue developing a competitive, high quality workforce through skills development, education, and by removing barriers to employment.
Major employers include Unilever, which has a food research facility at Colworth Science Park. Recruitment agencies report that the site provides a wide range of local jobs for legal professionals, technologists, and scientists. Other employers in the area and in nearby Luton include the University of Bedfordshire, the Civil Service, Bedford Borough Council, Accenture, Luton Airport, and the NHS.
Around 27% of the local workforce is employed in the transport industry, with 16.5% working in finance, and many other staff are employed by service sector businesses, like Mouchel and Babtie (who provide engineering, electrical, and mechanical consultancy services.)