Liverpool was founded on the port and its strategic location as a link with the West Indies and, later, America. The Port of Liverpool and Manchester Ship Canal still account for much trade of course and there are many major developments taking place to ensure it stays at the forefront of the shipping industry. The seaway currently handles 15,000 ships a year and 40,000 tonnes of cargo with China and many non-European countries adding to the traditional freight links with America. But the likes of Albert Dock have also changed to woo tourists and have developed a leisure trade of their own. Meanwhile in the city centre a Knowledge Quarter has been created encouraging business in technology, media and the arts.
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Liverpool has offices for the National Identity and Passport Service, the Criminal Records Bureau and HM Revenue and Customs. They're just three of the big employers in the public admin sector which accounts for a higher than UK average proportion of the city's jobs. It's a sector that took a hit during the recession but continues to employ thousands of people. The range of jobs means people are needed with a selection of different qualifications. Pleasant personalities and an ability to get on with people top the list with employers who know you'll be part of a team. But a good knowledge of software packages such as Microsoft Word, Excel and databases will move you to the front of the queue.
While many cities were still to realise the value of a 'knowledge economy', Liverpool got on with building its Knowledge Quarter. It means the city's a world leader in this sector that's helping to create plenty of jobs for the city's residents and generates over £1billion a year. Among the institutions based in the Knowledge Quarter are Liverpool Community College, Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, Liverpool John Moores University, the University of Liverpool, Royal Liverpool University Hospital and Liverpool Science Park. Graduates and hard-working people with a passion for cutting edge technologies and developments in IT will find jobs with both the big institutions and the SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).
Think of Liverpool and you can't help but think of The Beatles. Liverpool, and its Merseybeat legacy, continues to have an influence around the world. The city was European Capital of Culture in 2008 and is now home to the likes of Liverpool Tate and the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. Employment in this sector is notoriously difficult and often short-term contracts - but a labour of love for those determined to be artists.