Bristol's geographical position on the Severn Estuary ensured its early economic success as a successful port welcoming home the tall ships from the West Indies laden with spices and spirits. But the city survived and flourished even when the port's dominance diminished. First it recognised the opportunities offered by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the arrival of steam and railways, then at the start of the 20th century it was quick to realize the potential value of the aeroplane's invention and in 1910 opened Filton Airfield - a far-sighted decision which culminated in Bristol's involvement with the Concorde project. BAE Systems may have announced the airfield's closure (for December 2012) but aerospace and defence remains one of the city's main industries.
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BAE Systems, Airbus, Rolls Royce and many more firms are to be found at Filton and along the so-called North Fringe area of Bristol. Many of the companies offer apprenticeships, entry for graduates, internships and a range of other career-paths. And the skills they need vary enormously: manufacturing, engineering, design, project management, leadership, customer care - the list goes on. MBDA is one of the world's leading missile manufacturers with a highly-skilled workforce and centres around the world.
Bristol has a proud tradition of supporting innovative and new technologies be that the railway, airplane - or Wallace and Gromit. Ardman Animations, producers of the Plasticine duo are based at Bristol and symbolise the city's desire to support the creative industries. The BBC, regional newspapers and multimedia companies are all to be found at Bristol offering a range of jobs. And watch out for companies such as Mubaloo making headway in the very latest of technologies such as mobile phone apps.
Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel bestowed upon Bristol the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Great Western Railway. And his legacy lives on. Engineering is still key to Bristol's economic success and the railway provides hundreds of jobs for local people. Network Rail and First Great Western offer a range of careers including customer support, the operational side of the business and business support (finance, management etc).