Vaizey: 'Golden handcuff' scheme may solve games edu

Vaizey: 'Golden handcuff' scheme may solve games edu

By Rob Crossley in London

January 11th 2011 at 11:12AM

Studios could fund educators to teach pupils, and have priority on hiring them in return

Ed Vaizey, the culture minister, has heard recommendations to promote a ‘golden handcuff’ scheme that could build stronger bridges between the games industry and the education system.

The initiative would see UK studios help fund a trainee’s game development education at university, after which the student would return to the studio for full time employment.

The theory is that the scheme would force stronger collaboration between the games industry and academia, whist at the same time stimulating job growth in the sector.

Vaizey revealed the possible initiative at the Learning Without Frontiers event in London, a three-day conference for discussion and debate on digital media, education, technology and entertainment.

He said the opportunity to work with games and tech companies is “enormous”, however he suggested the speed of the industry is moving can naturally be problematic for public spending.

“How you can fund and encourage technological advances if new ones arrive every year,” Vaizey asked.

How academia works with the games industry has become a contentious issue in recent months. Many game developers have said that younger generations of aspiring developers lack an adequate foundation in key subjects for game development.

Many education groups, meanwhile, believe that the industry must help universities build more practical game-based courses.

Awareness on the issue has grown in recent months, and today the trade body NESTA  is conducting an ongoing review on the skills-gap affecting the UK industry.

The initiative will make recommendations to Government on how the UK can improve its standing on an increasingly competitive world-stage.

Vaizey said the government had a roundtable with the games industry at the end of last year, where companies such as Nintendo and Sony discussed how games can help education.

At the end of his speech, the culture minister heard several criticisms of the government’s commitment to the games industry. You can read about that here.