University of Plymouth issues invitation to Open Day 2009

The event, which showcases both the first class facilities of the university and the vibrant culture of the city, has attracted increasing numbers of young people in recent years.

Ahead of this year’s event – which takes place on Saturday 17 October – the university has engaged four of its alumni to speak about their experiences during their time in the city.

Andrea Walters, Head of Marketing at the University of Plymouth, and herself a Plymouth Business School graduate, said the perspective of the alumni had provided valuable insight into the employability of graduates.

She said: “Research has shown that students visit Plymouth committed to making an application and it is a reassurance for them that this is a great place to live and study.

“But we wanted to give them something extra this year. With the concerns surrounding the global economy, and the focus on providing students with employable job skills, we thought it would be a good idea to provide first hand examples of how Plymouth’s graduates are well prepared for the world of work.”

Nicola Fox, 26, moved to Plymouth in 2001 from County Donegal, in the Republic of Ireland, and enrolled on a Bachelor of Arts degree in architecture. She gained a valuable year’s work experience with a local practice between her degree and diploma level, and now works as an architectural assistant at Keith Williams Architects in London.

Nicola said: “Architecture is a craft and one that requires a lot of thought and hard work. But the end result is well worth it and there will be lots of interesting stories to be told in the process!”

Bevan Johnson, 36, graduated in Civil Engineering in 1994. He is now a Project Manager for a leading manufacturing firm based in the city, Pipex Limited. Bevan oversees projects involving the manufacture and installation of glass reinforced epoxy pipes for use in the offshore industry.

Reflecting on his time at the university, he said: “The campus has changed a great deal since I studied here, but the focus on providing students with valuable life skills has not. My experiences here have helped me build a satisfying career – and I’ve also got all of those happy memories of spending sunny days on the Hoe, watching the world go by.”

Dongmei Zhu, 26, took a Masters in Business Management (MBM) after moving to Plymouth from China. She has been working as a strategic buyer for industrial and data communications giant, Rittal-CSM and has now returned to her homeland to start work as a lecturer. She said: “My degree provided me with an excellent grounding in the business arena. It was a great investment as it has taught me to become a good manager.”

Paul Reynolds moved from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, to Plymouth to study Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology, and graduated in 1998. He followed that up with a PGCE qualification in Secondary Education, and has been teaching for the past six years, most recently as a biology teacher at Eggbuckland Community College in the city.

Paul said: “During my time at university I learnt a lot about myself; having the freedom to do your own thing opens your mind to many opportunities.”

Open Day 2009 will enable interested visitors to find out about the university, its courses, facilities and accommodation. There will be tours of the campus, the diving and marine centre, the Mount Baten Watersports Centre and the health facilities at Derriford, and buses on standby to provide a guide to the city as well. There will also be people on hand to discuss topics such as work placements and similar career opportunities, student funding and post-graduate opportunities.

Andrea said: “We are focussed on careers and employability, and with the stories of Bevan, Mei, Nicola and Paul, we are trying to bring that to life, demonstrating that our graduates can stay local or go far, in a variety of rewarding and challenging career paths.”

Organisers have arranged free parking and travel onto campus for the day at Eaton Business Park, in Estover, and George Junction Park & Ride. Buses will run from 9am until 6pm to give the visitors the opportunity to also explore the city.

To book a place at the open day, visit or telephone 01752 585 858.


For more information, contact University of Plymouth Press and PR Officer Andrew Merrington on 01752 588003.

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