Hastings in East Sussex suffered badly towards the end of the 20th century from neglect and it developed a bad image which did little to help the town's prospects. But this small seaside resort has learned to pull itself up by its socks and has started to shout about the good things it has to offer. The people of the town have organised their own events - ranging from International chess congresses to May Day motorbike runs and Jack-in-the-Green folk festivals - to create a better image for Hastings and provided a much-needed boost to the town's economy. Like most seaside towns, it does well enough during the summer but can struggle during the winter months.
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Transport and communication links have slowly been improved - be they road links to London or rail links to Brighton, Ashford or the capital. And the town has realised that its history (the links with 1066 and being one of the Cinque Ports) is something to celebrate. Even its fishing industry - much diminished from its 19th century heyday - has been identified as an important potential for future growth.
Over the last ten years, economic development agencies have spent much money and resource on a regeneration programme for Hastings which has also led to many job opportunities. At North Queensway an Innovation Park is being developed to help fledgling companies. And North East Bexhill will see the development of 17 hectares of land into a range of business schemes hopefully creating 3,000 jobs. And the Priory Quarter in the town centre sees buildings for a creative media centre and Hastings University creating a range of exciting jobs. Within the Priory Quarter you'll also find Saga Insurance, Bibby Financial Services, solicitors firms and various others.
It's often a mystery why some towns become associated with particular industries. Often one major employer in a sector will encourage others to come and move in next door. The town has a long link with journalism and the creative media industries that is now being developed at the Priory Quarter. Links with Hastings University, Sussex University and others is fanning the flames of this burgeoning industry. The town also has long artistic links which combine nicely with journalism for the new 'creative media' sector. Hastings' time as a popular seaside resort led to many theatrical stars and agencies establishing themselves here, followed by many writers and artists. Creative media can cover writing, photography, illustrating, computer graphics, design and many other potential career paths. Beef up your CV with weekend or evening courses in any of these arts - and be prepared to show a bulging portfolio at your interview, crammed full with illustration or design ideas you've created yourself.