Vertical Plus graduates

Five former University of Plymouth students are proving themselves a force to be reckoned with in the highly competitive world of online sales.

The talented quintet work at leading e-commerce, marketing and communications agency Vertical Plus, based at the Plymouth Science Park.

And Robert Horne, Chris Ward, Lewis Young, George Weller and Lee Perring are all playing key roles in helping to grow Vertical Plus’s wide range of e-commerce clients.

The agency offers a range of transformational e-commerce strategies and services as part of its unique partnership model, which is designed to cover every aspect of the e-commerce mix – and supports clients in the day to day operation of their online activity to achieve desired growth.

The five graduates all work as either senior web developers or e-commerce strategists and are helping partners to significantly grow their online ventures via a proven combination of market research, content promotions, customer experience and strategic analysis.

E-Commerce Strategist Robert Horne joined Vertical Plus in 2010 through the University’s Graduate Internship Programme after completing a four year BA (Hons) Business Studies Course.

He has since achieved Chartered Marketer status with the Chartered Institute of Marketing, and says his degree has given him a greater understanding of businesses as a whole and how individual components must work in unison to maximise a company’s effectiveness:

“Although my primary job role is mainly marketing related activities, I've also pulled in theory around operations and accounting in working with my partners to solve logistical issues and develop pricing strategies to maximise profits, while remaining competitive as they've grown.”

Senior web developers Chris Ward, who studied Digital Art and Technology, and George Weller, a Multimedia Production and Technology student, came to Vertical Plus via university placements in 2007 and 2009 respectively.

Lee Perring, a Computing graduate, has also become a crucial element of the web team since joining in 2013. Lee said:

“The placement opportunity got my foot in the door and the university did provide a lot of information on how to go about this process effectively. I would recommend the placement option as it is vital on CVs nowadays. You do your real learning on the job too. University can cover the perfect scenarios, but real life isn’t always like that.”

Lewis Young, an E-Commerce Strategist who joined Vertical Plus seven years ago after receiving a BSc in Psychology, said his degree course has significantly helped in his work role:

“It did make me think about consumer behaviour and working methodically. Also, it made me more aware of the importance of analysing data and using the results to inform commercial and marketing decisions.”

George also praised the significant role the university played in equipping him with the necessary skills for the job:

“The University introduced me to a wide range of programming skills which i use on a day to day basis and then Vertical Plus gave me an opportunity to further develop them during my placement.”

Vertical Plus CEO David Gadd is delighted with the significant contribution the graduates, and indeed the whole team, are making to the company’s continuing client success stories. He said:

“We are extremely fortunate to have such a dynamic and talented workforce. The Brexit effect is already impacting on the recruitment of IT specialists who will be increasingly in demand in the coming months. That makes the work of Plymouth University in attracting young people to its IT related courses even more important. As a business, we really value our strong connection with what continues to be one of the rising stars of higher education establishments in the UK.”

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