Future games stars urged to Pick the Skillset Tick


Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Ewan McKenzie has the connections he made at the Abertay Skillset Media Academy to thank for his job as a games tester at Ruffian Games.“Iain Donald, the test lead at Ruffian, was working at Abertay at the time and he asked the head of my course if he could recommend anyone. He was looking for people for his team,” Ewan said.

A Skillset Tick has now been created to signpost students to all courses and institutions, like Abertay, that have passed a rigorous industry accreditation process by Skillset, the Sector Skills Council for the Creative Media Industries.

The Tick is also a valuable tool for the industry, as it provides a simple guide for employers looking for work-ready graduates seeking to enter the creative media workforce.

Skillset’s UK-wide network of 24 Film and Media Academies are the first institutions to be awarded the Tick, as they have been pinpointed as centres of excellence in creative media disciplines.

In addition, there are also almost 30 Ticked courses in the subject areas of animation, computer games, screenwriting and film production on offer across the UK. The number and scope of these courses is set to increase over the coming year.

British film and television star Noel Clarke has also recently joined with Skillset to make a short film to promote the Tick, which can be seen on Skillset’s YouTube channel.

Having benefited from the quality and relevance of the BA in game production at the Abertay Skillset Media Academy, Ewan McKenzie said the Ticked Academies were an excellent initiative for students wanting to enter the industry.“Just from being at Abertay and seeing how good their courses are, I think it can only be a good thing,” he said.

All UK courses handed the Skillset Tick have been rigorously assessed by industry experts as providing the highest standard of education, are vocationally relevant, have tutors with relevant professional experience, use up to date industry standard equipment, have strong links with industry and a strong track record of past students entering employment.

Chief executive of Channel 4 and Skillset board member, David Abraham, said:“The Skillset Tick is a symbol of quality that serves as a clear guide to those courses and institutions that provide the highest standard of media education. Employers and students alike will benefit from the clarity the Tick provides in signposting the UK’s centres of excellence in media training.”

For more information about the Skillset Tick, please visit skillset.org/pickthetick.

A full guide to Ticked courses and institutions is now available on Skillset’s new courses database. This online resource provides students and media professionals with the most comprehensive guide to the broad scope and variety of media courses available in the UK. Visit courses.skillset.org.


For more information contact:

Skillset press and PR officer Nick Sheridan on 0207 713 9854 or nicks@skillset.org


Skillset press and PR manager Jennifer Walters on 0207 713 9812 or jenniferw@skillset.org

Out-of-hours: 07827 989 330.

Notes to Editors:

    <*>Skillset is the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for Creative Media, with responsibility for 60 per cent of the UK Creative Industries. This comprises TV, film, radio, interactive media, animation, computer games, facilities, photo imaging, publishing, advertising and fashion and textiles. 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 Skillset Tick promo starring Noel Clarke can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4IUlMbMS64

Case study– Ewan McKenzie

Ewan McKenzie is starting his career in computer games thanks to the skills and contacts he made at the Abertay Skillset Media Academy.

Ewan, 22, took the BA degree in game production management at the University of Abertay’s school of computing and creative technologies in Dundee.

When he finished the four-year course in the spring of 2009 he had already been working as a tester at Ruffian Games for a month.

He got the job directly as a result of contacts made on his course:“Iain Donald, the test lead at Ruffian, was working at Abertay at the time and he asked the head of my course if he could recommend anyone. He was looking for people for his team.”

Ewan was attracted to the course for its focus on games management:“Abertay was the best course in Scotland. I was more interested in management than programming, I always enjoyed writing.

“From the second year onwards we were writing a lot of documentation which has been useful for me here.”

Essential experience was also gained when students were mixed with those from other courses at the academy which focused on different aspects of computer games development, like coding and design, so people with different skills worked together like a team would in industry:“It was good experience. It helped to see what other people were doing.”

Now Ewan is part of a team developing a high profile game called Crackdown 2 for Xbox 360, due for release next year.

His day to day duties involve:

    <*>testing the game daily to make sure it is safe for the development team to use <*>testing the game editor frequently <*>writing documentation on testing procedures <*>writing test plans and cases for specific areas of the game <*>writing test instructions for key milestones for the publisher <*>communicating with members of the team to resolve problems/issues.

Ewan did not know about the Skillset accreditation when he applied to Abertay, but now says he would recommend prospective students look for this:“Just from being at Abertay and seeing how good their courses are, I think it can only be a good thing.”

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