Until the 1980s, the defence industry in the form of the Navy was the dominant economic force in the coastal city. But its decline has forced the city to rethink its identity. Through strategies such as "Plymouth 2020", the civic chiefs are looking to drive the economy in a new direction through the building of a cruise terminal, shopping centres, a boulevard and thousands of new homes. One new route is the creation of jobs in the innovation sector. As the city council puts it "transforming knowledge into an economic driver to create a 'city of ideas'. That sounds grand but what does it actually mean?
It means drawing on the two universities and the City College to ensure their good work and learning is fed back into the local economy. Many companies are now working closely with the seats of learning to develop new enterprises. And the infrastructure is being put in place to encourage new businesses in the area. Plymouth does, of course, have one factor well and truly in its favour: its geographic location. Its seaside site and proximity to the likes of Dartmoor National Park mean tourism will always be a corner stone of employment in the area.
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Although the Royal Navy's presence in Plymouth may have diminished, there are still plenty of jobs to be found in the marine sector. Babcock is one of the city's biggest employers offering work in engineering and is looking for graduates, technically skilled staff and professionals to help grow this international company. Babcock will be helping to refit the Trident ballistic missile submarine HMS Vengeance at its Devonport dockyard. In the leisure sector, Plymouth is home to Princess Yachts and employs a range of engineers and craftsmen. The company works with City College Plymouth to offer a range of advanced apprenticeships and development programmes.
A number of business parks around the city host a range of international, national or purely local companies offering a range of services. Such famous brands as 118 118, Orange and First Assist can be found in and around Plymouth providing careers in customer care, finance, management or other business services. Basic skills, particularly in the use of computer programmes such as Word, Excel or Sage are going to be essential but so too is a good personality and warm telephone manner. This is a business sector planned for future growth in Plymouth.
The printed word is changing to the digital word and companies such as the TwoFour Group are creating jobs in this exciting world. The expanding industries of TV, radio and the internet offer a range of jobs requiring skills in writing, design and computer programming. It's a tough world to enter but for those with technical expertise and an imagination, it's one well worth fighting to get in.