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Games Education Summit bridges the gap between educators and industry

Dr. Oliver Williams and Dr. Carlo Harvey at the  Games Education Summit.

Dr. Oliver Williams, Head of our New Technology Institute, and Dr. Carlo Harvey, Senior Lecturer in Computer Games Programming, recently contributed to panel discussions at this year’s inaugural Games Education Summit.

The Games Education Summit is a new UK conference that aims to bridge the gap between games educators and industry. It was launched by The BGI, a charity focused on educating the public about the art, science, history and technology of games, and took place in the National Videogame Museum. 

Running over two days, the conference brought together developers and educators to try and tackle the skills crisis harming the UK games scene. 40 games course leaders from further and higher education, developers and HR staff from studios, third sector organisations, recruitment companies and policymakers met to further dialogue, collaboration and best practice sharing. 

There were a number of talks and panel discussions that tackled the big issues in games education such as employability, apprenticeships, diversity and skills required by studios. Oliver and Carlo contributed to the ‘Employment or Entrepreneurship’ and ‘Higher Education requirements of the sector’ panels. Oliver discussed the pros and cons of starting up games companies straight from University versus winning a studio job, whilst Carlo analysed what educators need from industry and how they broadly work with the sector.

One of the popular topics across multiple panel discussions was placement opportunities for students and how the games industry needs facilitate more of these for undergraduates. Carlo commented that games studios have an ethical responsibility to start training students in-house. He added that studios don't necessarily have the capacity to take on that many placements, but educators had a few possible solutions:

"We have a lot of underused resource. We have summer windows with game labs that can be available to use, so maybe developers could send a few people to run a micro-studio out of our game labs."

As well as opening up work placements, the following suggestions were made over the course of the Education Summit about how UK games studios can work better with educators:

  • Support more game jams and career fairs
  • Speak at universities and colleges
  • Find ways to be more accessible
  • Consider apprenticeships
  • Get involved with academic research
  • Help educators prepare for future jobs

The Summit was a resounding success and plans to return in 2020. To find out more about how our video game courses work with industry take a look at our course pages. 

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