One of the slogans for Wigan is "proud of our past, excited by our future" and that fairly sums up this Lancashire town which can indeed be proud of all that it's achieved in the past but is yet to realise its 21st century economic potential. Perhaps it's overshadowed by its two big neighbours - Liverpool and Manchester - but at long last the town and wider borough are starting to make themselves heard. The Eastern Gateway, the Wigan Pier Quarter and a Knowledge Quarter are just three of the branded redevelopment areas that hope to win the hearts and purses of big businesses.
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A number of famous brands are to be found in Wigan including the Heinz factory which first opened there in 1959. And Pataks Indian Food is another food business you'll find in Wigan. Those with a sweeter tooth may prefer working for the famous Uncle Joe's Mint Balls factory in the town. Manufacturing still accounts for a large part of the economic make-up of Wigan. PPG Industries (the largest fiber glass manufacturer in the UK) is one of the town's major employers in this sector.
The term 'creative' sounds dangerously woolly but Wigan are serious about attracting digital and new-media businesses into the area. Or helping to start new ones. You'll already find dozens of small and not-so-small digital businesses in Wigan offering jobs for software developers, inputters, graphic design students, photographers, copy-writers and a wide range of other creative skills. Graduates will be particularly welcome but self-starters who can demonstrate a love and flair for the businesses should find themselves pushing against an open door.
Heinz employs around 1,200 people at its Wigan factory, recruiting school leavers through to post graduates. The company even offers a 12-month placement programme - salaried and with holiday. It will give you a chance to learn more about the company and decide if it's for you. Graduates will need a 2:1 or above and plenty of self-motivation. While they want you to be aware and respect the company's great past (started 150 years ago by Mr Heinz), they also want you to come up with innovative ideas. There's a week-long induction programme followed by plenty of on-the-job training.