Gavin Jones – BA (Hons) Digital Art and Technology graduate

Current employer: Elixel

Current job title: Managing Director

Current location: Plymouth

“Real industry experience is a highly valuable thing moving forward after university, and it can have a positive long term effect on your career.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

I was lucky enough to start a business with three of my fellow course mates just before we graduated. We moved into the Formation Zone at the University doing work for people we had met during our studies, and learnt some of the basics of how a business should be run as well as working out how to work with each other in a corporate environment. 

Since then we have been focused on building our brand, working with a mixture of small businesses and larger multi-national clients. There is nothing quite like generating your own revenue, doing what you love, and knowing that it is all going back into the local economy. 

Has your career path changed since graduation?

The vision for the company has changed since our graduation. In the beginning we were looking to develop as a small dynamic team. Now we are looking to grow and expand the team, which in itself comes with its own challenges. We have just taken a big step towards this goal by taking on a placement student.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

I feel quite fortunate in that I work in a very supportive team which makes any challenge, no matter how difficult, feel quite small. I would say the challenge of bringing in our first new team member as a concept was quite difficult, making sure you pick the right person who will match the team dynamic while still adding enough to the table to push the business forward.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

It has to be getting industry recognition for work we have delivered for our clients. In 2014 we won the app category in the Media Innovation Awards for our work on the Plymouth Students’ Union app, a client that we have been working with since we started the business. Mid-2015 we won Small Business of the Year at the Plymouth and Devon Chamber Awards for our work helping to grow the local digital community.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

Studying at Plymouth University helped us on so many levels. The placement year gave us confidence in our own abilities and allowed us to make contacts that have come in useful for building our network of clients. My current business partners and I met while studying there and the University helped us to realise that starting up a business was a possibility.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth? 

In our second year we got given the opportunity to work on a project with local charity Wild Futures. We developed a game to help raise awareness of wild animals in captivity. We also got the opportunity to show the game off in Drake Circus and test it on shoppers who passed by.

Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?

If you have the opportunity to do a placement as part of your course, take it. Don’t just sit back and expect a placement to come to you: spend time connecting and contacting organisations you are interested in. Real industry experience is a highly valuable thing moving forward after university, and it can have a positive long term effect on your career.

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