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Skillset unveils new accreditation initiative for Games industry

For immediate release: Thursday, July 23, 2009

A new initiative to accredit Games Design postgraduate courses has been unveiled by Skillset, the industry body supporting skills, education and training for the UK's Creative Media Industries

The Sector Skills Council is set to design a postgraduate Games Design framework in order to signpost excellence in this field for prospective students and employers. The decision was made at a recently convened meeting with senior industry representatives from Jagex, Blitz, Sony, Rare, Ubsisoft, Zoe Mode, Headstrong, Babel Media, Relentless, Crytek and TIGA.

Minister for Creative Industries Si?n Simon MP said:“Skillset’s accreditation initiative is building valuable bridges between higher education and the Games industries, particularly in the area of Games Design, where universities could reap benefits from industry guidance. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is looking forward to working with the industry and Skillset to develop the vital high-level skills needed to maintain the sector’s competitive edge.”

Saint John Walker, Skillset’s Computer Games Manager, told last week’s Games:EDU, part of the annual DEVELOP Games conference in Brighton:“The industry wants us to accredit and reward excellent postgraduate design courses. This is not Skillset’s accreditation, it is industry accreditation. It is a very exciting step forward for the Games industry.”

Skillset already accredits Games Art and Games Programming courses, and announced earlier this month that Teesside University is the sixth course to be accredited in the UK.

To add industry weight to the move towards further accreditation, David Braben, founder of Frontier Developments, has been appointed as the new chair of the Skillset Computer Games accreditation panel, which will help to drive this initiative forward. He said: "I am excited to be able to help and influence Skillset in this way.

“I owe a great deal to the UK education system and will do all I can to help restore the standards of education in the UK, and hopefully improve them further, so that the UK can continue to compete on the world stage in the future."

At the same conference on Tuesday last week (July 14), Sarah Lemari?, Infrastructure Manager&Academic Liaison at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, advised universities to put forward their courses for accreditation. She said:“Universities should think of accreditation as the start of a wider dialogue with Skillset and industry, rather than just a simple award. Merely engaging with the process can be a rewarding learning experience.”

Further benefits of accreditation include access to a Skillset database of industry speakers willing to do demonstrations and masterclasses, and possible software deals.

Skillset accredits courses in Games Art and Games Programming, and is now developing a Games Design post-graduate framework after consultation with a number of companies.

The other Skillset accredited courses are at the University of Abertay Dundee, University of the West of Scotland, Glamorgan Centre for Art&Design Technology and the University of Hull.

Ends

Media enquiries:

Press and PR Manager Jennifer Walters

e: jenniferw@skillset.org

t: 07961 508 408

Notes to Editors

About Skillset - Skillset is the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for Creative Media which comprises TV, film, radio, interactive media, animation, computer games, facilities, photo imaging and publishing. SSCs are licensed by the UK Government and by Ministers in the devolved administrations to tackle the skills and productivity challenge by sector. They are independent, UK-wide organisations, are employer-led, and actively involve trade unions, professional bodies and other stakeholders in the industry.

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