“The industry can’t afford for this year’s graduates to be less prepared than those that came before them” – Levelling up the academic year with Aardvark Swift

It goes without saying, the effects of COVID-19 have been widely felt by everybody, with the higher education sector being no different. Whether it be the A levels fiasco and subsequent U-turn, the drastic reduction in international travel, or the ongoing need for social distancing measures, universities and other HE institutions are having to adapt to new challenges.

Andy Driver, Operations Manager, Grads in Games
Andy Driver, Operations Manager, Grads in Games

One integral part of graduate life which will be affected, as the next 12 months unfold, is the collaboration between the games industry and academia. It cannot be underestimated how important it is for students to receive regular visits from industry professionals, whether they’re coming in to present their advice, carrying out workshops, providing portfolio reviews, or networking. Many universities are planning on continuing with remote teaching either in full, or as part of a blended learning approach. This means that many of these in-person visits just won’t be happening this year, including our regular visits to universities as part of our Get in the Game University Tour (we visited over 30 universities last academic year!)

The industry can’t afford for this year’s graduates to be less prepared than those that came before them, especially as we head into the next generation of games. This is why Grads in Games will soon be launching our brand new Get in the Game offering, in the form of Get in the Game: Online Journeys. We will be providing students with a large amount of original video tutorials and advice, covering a wide range of different topics. Video presentations are being created by our studio partners, a host of industry professionals, and of course the Grads in Games team as we write. The Get in the Game: Online Journeys will allow a student to follow a set path for their discipline, furthering their understanding of the skills that studios look for when hiring graduates. From tips for building a kick-ass portfolio, to how to build a games industry specific CV, and deep dives into how to get the most out of certain software and techniques by working professionals.

With assistance from partner studios such as Frontier Developments, Deep Silver Dambuster, Sumo Digital, Red Kite Games, Steel City Interactive, Natural Motion, nDreams, and Airship Images, as well as our headline partner, d3t, we will be providing students with a huge variety of advice and guidance from many different points of view. For these studios, the opportunity to give back and provide guidance to the next generation of games professionals is a big attraction. Their partnership and involvement in our initiatives guarantees them a targeted audience of students pursuing a career in the games industry.

While the impacts of COVID-19 were felt hard by those who graduated this summer, they will weigh on the mind and experience of current students and the soon-to-be graduates of 2021 too. As the pressures on the next generation increase, we’re taking active steps to ensure that students remain as employable as possible when they’re ready to join the many fantastic studios around the globe.

Since our launch 11 years ago, we have worked with thousands of students and graduates, providing independent CV and portfolio advice, delivering careers talks at universities and colleges across the UK and beyond, as well as attending careers events. We continue to provide opportunities for thousands of students to take part in our Search for a Star and d3t Digital Rising Star game development challenges also, allowing students to create a game (or in-game asset) to an industry written brief and get professional feedback. This portfolio piece, and our proactive recruitment process with our partners, has helped hundreds of graduates attain their first industry role.

There is still time for more studios to explore a partnership with Grads in Games for the 20/21 academic year! Should your studio wish to work with us, or provide content for Get in the Game: Online Journeys, you can explore the different options by contacting Andy Driver (Operations Manager) at andy@gradsingames.com

About Chris Wallace

Chris is MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer, joining the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can regrettably be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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