Luminaries light the way for graduates on career path

Hilary Benn MP

Leading figures from industry, politics, commerce, the media and the public sector will be giving the benefit of their experience to University of Sussex postgraduates as part of a new scheme to boost student career prospects.


The scheme, PostgradPlus, will include master classes from: Hilary Benn, Secretary of State DEFRA; Helen Boaden Director BBC News; Professor Adrian Bird FRS Director Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology; Gail Rebuck, Chairman and CEO of Random House Group; Richard Wilson QC; Julian Bellamy, Head of Programmes, Channel 4; Geoffrey Dennis, Chief Executive of CARE International; Jamie Shea, Director of Policy Programmes for NATO. 

It will also offer employability skills workshops – a series of one-day sessions focusing on the skills and attitudes sought by employers: leadership, teamwork, confidence, effective presentation, problem-solving and commercial awareness.


The masterclasses will provide insider knowledge about what employers are looking for and offer and offer 21st-century career management skills for careers in business and finance, education, entrepreneurship, international development, law, media, the public sector (including politics) and science and engineering. 

PostgradPlus is open to those studying for Masters degrees at Sussex. It complements another new scheme, Sussex Plus, aimed at broadening the University experience and showcasing University of Sussex undergraduates’ skills and achievements in an attractive Sussex Plus webfolio. It will be piloted during 2009-10.

University life is about so much more than just academic study – for example, many Sussex students volunteer in the community, or are in sports teams, or have part time jobs, or bring up children – and Sussex Plus recognises that these “extra curricular” activities also give students the skills which employers are looking for, such as leadership and teamworking.


Linda Buckham, head of the Careers Development and Employment Centre (CDEC) says: “Many students think ‘in the box’ about their future – they fail to recognise just how skilful and knowledgeable they are across all aspects of their lives and what they can offer employers (or further training providers). In the current job market it is important to know about career improvisation – PostgradPlus and Sussex Plus will help our students to stand out from the crowd. We need to get them thinking about the bigger picture, and about what makes them unique.”


Notes for Editors

The full list of alumni giving master classes:


1.         Richard Wilson QC


2.         Helen Boaden Director BBC News


3.         Julian Bellamy Head of Programmes Channel 4


4.         Geoffrey Dennis CEO Care International

5.         Hilary Benn Secretary of State DEFRA


6.         Jamie Shea  Director Policy Planning NATO


7.         Sean Phelan  Entrepreneur (Founder of Multimap)


8.         Stephen Kon  Partner SJ Berwin (Law firm)


9.         Keith Skeoch  CEO Standard Life Investments


10.        Gail Rebuck  Chairman and CEO Random House Group


11.        Helen Edwards  Director General Criminal Justice Group - Ministry of Justice


12.        Suma Chakrabati  Permanent Secretary Ministry of Justice


13.        Professor Adrian Bird FRS Director Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology


Find out about postgraduate study at Sussex at


For more details on careers services for students visit the CDEC web pages


For further information contact the University of Sussex Press office

Last updated: Tuesday, 15 September 2009