Congratulations on the tax breaks, now let’s tackle the skills gap together, says Skillset

Thursday, 1 April 2010

While the tax breaks announced in last week’s budget were an important first step for safeguarding the future of the computer games industry, Skillset is now calling on all corners of the industry to jointly address the need to develop a skilled workforce able to deliver quality product and cope with future growth.

Skillset’s chief executive, Dinah Caine, said:“If tax breaks are literally to be a game-changer for the industry, then we have to work together to enable higher education to support this new industry landscape. Skillset has begun this process by developing and implementing rigorous accreditation criteria that were written by industry. Now we need industry trade associations to concentrate their assistance on those courses that step up to the plate and come forward for accreditation, and to promote accreditation as a way to sharpen up university curricula. Properly accredited and supported courses are our best chance to get the skills we will need.”

Skillset’s accreditation scheme kite marks the courses that provide the most industry relevant training and clear pathways into the workforce. Accredited courses are awarded the Skillset Tick, which signposts that programme as a leader in its field.

So far there are nine Skillset-accredited computer games courses in the UK, with more in the pipeline. Skillset has also recently campaigned on behalf of industry to ensure that a new Higher National Diploma (HND) Games Development qualification framework developed in Scotland retains a robust maths prerequisite, and a new HND games art pathway retains life drawing skills as an important preparation for concept and character art modules.

Ian Livingstone Life President, Eidos and Chair of Skillset’s Computer Games council said:“Only Skillset, backed by the games industry and its trade associations, can supply such an impartial service. Just as tax credits promise to give UK development studios a financial boost to compete globally, so we need to work together to boost the quality our university courses. For international companies wishing to invest in the sector, differentiation will now be about which country has the best available production skills.”

Skillset’s computer games manager, Saint John Walker, said:“Recent Skillset University evaluators and advisors have included personnel from Monumental, Jagex, Ninja Theory, SCEE, Zoe Mode, Relentless and Mere Mortals, and we are grateful for their altruism. In the light of the new situation, we hope that the whole industry will rally to help us to help them achieve the best results from higher education.”

Examples of Skillset accredited course alumni can be seen here.

-Ends-

For more information contact

Skillset press and PR officer Nick Sheridan on 020 713 9854 or nicks@skillset.org

Out-of-hours: 07827 989 330.

Notes to Editors:

• 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.

• The nine Skillset accredited computer games courses are: BA Game Art Design, De Montfort University Leicester; MSc Games Software Development, Sheffield Hallam University; BSc (Honours) Computer Games Programming, Teesside University; BA (Honours) Computer Arts, University of Abertay Dundee; BSc (Honours) Computer Games Technology, University of Abertay Dundee; MSc Computer Games Technology, University of Abertay Dundee; BA in Computer Animation, University of Glamorgan - Cardiff School of Creative and Cultural Industries; MSc Games Programming, University of Hull; BSc (Honours) Computer Games Technology, University of the West of Scotland

• Cases studies of Skillset accredited computer games courses can be found at: http://courses.skillset.org/case_studies/filter/accredited%20computer%20games%20course


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