Kim Blake appointment drives forward Next Gen recommendations

Kim Blake has been appointed Next-Gen Talent Development Co-ordinator to drive forward recommendations from the ground breaking Next Gen report into the video games and visual effects industries.

The post, joint-funded by Games trade body Ukie and Creative Skillset, will play a key role in helping the games industry work with educators to improve the flow of talent coming in to the sector.

The appointment comes hot on the heels of the announcement by Government that Computer Science would be included on the English Baccalaureate - a major recommendation of the Next Gen report. The EBacc requires pupils to achieve GCSE grades in core subjects - English, maths, sciences, a humanities and language. Computer Science will now be included as one of the science options that count towards this measure.

Next Gen: Transforming the UK into the world's leading talent hub for the video games and visual effects industries was commissioned by Government following concerns the UK could lose its cutting edge in a competitive global market .

Kim brings a great deal of experience to the new post.  She has been at Blitz Games Studios since 2005, most recently as its Senior Events & Education Co-ordinator.  Previous to this she was at games companies Headfirst Productions, Argonaut Sheffield and Gremlin Interactive.

Kim Blake said: “I am incredibly excited to have been given the opportunity to work with Ukie and Creative Skillset on the development and promotion of next gen skills. So many people are doing excellent work in this area; I’m really looking forward to working with them all to maximise awareness of the careers available, the skills needed and the opportunities that are already out there, as well as helping to foster communication between existing and new initiatives. The inclusion of Computer Science on the English Baccalaureate is a great step in the right direction; I’m hoping we can now raise the profile of the arts as equally important to the next gen skills agenda.”

Creative Skillset Deputy Chief Executive, Kate O’Connor said: ‘We are delighted that Computer Science has been recognised as a discipline in its own right. This will transform the status and take up of the subject across the country. And by partnering with Ukie in creating this vital new role, we are able to offer practical support in its take up. Kim’s experience and knowledge of the games industry, coupled with her incredible passion, make her the ideal person to drive this work forward. Helping the games industry work more closely with schools, colleges and universities will make a huge difference to producing the highly skilled work force that it needs to continue to grow.”

Ukie Ceo Dr Jo Twist said: “We’re delighted to have Kim on board as our new Talent Development Coordinator. Kim will deliver the next practical set of recommendations from the Next Gen Skills report her work will complement the lobbying success of the Next Gen Skills Campaign. Kim has a proven record in championing the industry and working with education and her new role will be a real benefit to the whole UK games and interactive entertainment industry in inspiring the next generation to consider games as a career. This role also shows once more how Ukie’s membership can collectively contribute towards delivering something that can make a huge difference to the whole UK games industry.”

Vice Chair Ukie, Life President Eidos and co-author of the Next Gen Report, Ian Livingstone CBE, said: “I am delighted that Kim has joined Ukie to act as the point of contact with the education sector as part of our ongoing Next Gen Skills campaign. Following on from last week’s announcement of Computer Science being included in the English Baccalaureate, Kim will help implement more recommendations of the Next Gen review. She will work with schools, colleges and universities to further promote practical coding and digital art skills that are vital for students hoping to have a career in the games industry.”

Responding to the news that Computer Science will be considered a subject on the English Baccalaureate, Ian Livingstone said: “Getting Computer Science accepted as a subject on the English Baccalaureate could be transformational. It is a huge victory for the Next Gen Skills campaign and our partners. Computer Science is now officially the 4 th science, on a par with the other sciences, and a core subject for children to learn. This will help ensure that this country produces a new generation of digital makers, not just for the games industry, but for all creative and digital industries. The legacy of Alan Turing lives on!”

-Ends-

For more information contact

Penny Wilkinson, Corporate Communications Manager, 020 7713 9867, pennyw@creativeskillset.org

Notes:

  • Creative Skillset is the licensed Sector Skills Council for Entertainment Media, Fashion and Textiles, Publishing and Advertising, Marketing and Communications. It is owned and invested in by employers working in social partnership with unions and aspires to have the best skills and talent in the world to drive growth of the industries and the UK economy. Creative Skillset brings all parts of the Creative Industries together to add value through collaboration on workforce development. www.creativeskillset.org
  • For a copy of the Next Gen report visit the Creative Skillset website
  • The new role will create a programme of activity to grow young talent in the UK games industry and build better links between the games industry and up and coming talent – from secondary school to graduates and early stage young entrepreneurs. It will particularly focus on better promotion of the industry as a career option and of the skills needed for a career in the games industry to school children, teachers, parents and students. This includes:
o   identifying, commissioning and marketing education support materials to promote the games industry as a career to school children, teachers, parents and students

o   creating a Ukie Student membership scheme

o   re-launching the Video Games Ambassadors (VGA) scheme

o   scoping the potential development of placement/intern schemes

o   scoping the development of a programme for teacher training support

o   supporting the creation of a mentoring scheme - and developing a jobs board/talent matchmaking service for industry

  • The Association for United Kingdom Interactive Entertainment (Ukie) is a trade body that aims to support, grow and promote the whole of the UK’s games and interactive entertainment industry. Founded in 2010, its membership includes all the major UK and global games publishers and the best of UK development talent - from promising start-ups to some of the biggest, most successful studios operating in the UK today.
  • The English Baccalaureate was introduced as a measure of school performance, appearing in league tables, and showing the proportion of pupils achieving GCSEs grade C and above and some AS-levels in specified key subjects.
  • The decision by Education Secretary Michael Gove will mean that computing will count as a science in the English Baccalaureate for secondary school league tables from January 2014 - alongside physics, chemistry, biology and pupils taking double science. In January 2012, Mr Gove announced he was replacing the information and communications technology (ICT) curriculum in schools with a more challenging computer science curriculum, developed to meet the needs of technology firms.  In October, a panel of technology experts, including representatives of Google and Microsoft, called for the inclusion of computer science in the English Baccalaureate. 

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