Industry campaigns for government-assisted work-placement scheme

Industry campaigns for government-assisted work-placement scheme
Michael French

By Michael French

June 24th 2008 at 7:09AM

Video games can make education attractive, says Games Up, but only with the right Government backing

The Games Up campaign continues to lobby for better recognition of the games industry, today claiming that games companies could help make higher education an attractive prospect to youngsters – but only with the right support from the authorities.

A new statement from the lobbying group - founded last month by Tiga, Elspa, Frontier, Sony and Eidos and backed by 15 major UK studios - follows up on reports from last week where its members claimed that 95 per cent of games degrees are ‘not fit for purpose’.

The campaign’s latest released comments read: “The vast majority of video games degrees at British universities are failing to equip graduates with the necessary skills to build a career in the industry.”

According to Games Up graduates from a Skillset-accredited course are three times more likely to get a job in games development than those from non-accredited courses.

Now the Games Up organisers are proposing ‘a Government-assisted work placement programme to give games, maths, physics and computer science undergraduates the opportunity to gain experience of working in real games studios’.

The studios behind Games Up also say that the industry could play an important role in promoting less popular subjects like maths and science at secondary and younger levels by showing that a career in video gaming awaits those interested.

They are also backing the idea of ‘Centres of Excellence’ to help address the games industry skills shortage, and say they can help provide long-terms appeal to universities and colleges.

Commented Jamie Macdonald, VP of SCE Worldwide Studios: “We are willing to work closely to support Centres of Excellence as finishing schools for graduates and provide real world work experience via a Government-assisted internship programme. We can also play a vital role in enticing younger students to persist with so-called ‘harder’ subjects such as maths and science (which are also needed by financial services and other sectors) by showing that aspirational careers in video gaming are achievable.

“While few seven year-olds would be excited at the prospect of a career as an actuary, many more might be attracted by a career in video gaming, and the demanding, constantly changing world of games development offers some of the most exciting end products in media today.”