Leicester's De Montfort art course backed by academia and industry as a worthwhile choice for students

Skillset backs its first English game art course

De Montfort University’s game art course has become the first in England to be awarded accreditation by Skillset.

The independent skills council has previously accredited game art courses at University of Glamorgan in Cardiff as well as The University of Abertay in Dundee, but Leicester-based De Montfort is the first England-based academy to achieve the highly-sought endorsement.

Skillset’s ambition for video game design is to promote it as a viable career to prospective students, as well as strengthen the UK’s creative industry workforce by highlighting the very best courses and universities.

Many prominent UK developers have for years voiced concerns over Britain’s perceived skills shortage in the sector, with numerous university courses suggested to be below a standard the industry requires. (Click here to take part in our skills survey).

Skillset says that, in order to strengthen the stature of its endorsements, the industry is consulted during the process of accrediting a university or game course. It means that accredited universities and courses are likely to be more fruitful for students looking for a stepping-stone into a game development career.

Eidos life president Ian Livingstone is chair of Skillset’s games council. He said that De Montfort is fully deserving of its accreditation.

“This is the first games art course in England to be accredited and I hope it is the first of many,” he said.

“Accreditation is a rigorous process, but De Montfort’s course shows what standards can be achieved with a curriculum designed with games industry input from day one.”

Skillset game manager Saint John Walker told Develop in December that there is no ‘quota’ on the number of accreditations it delivers. It awards universities if they are put forward as candidates and deemed deserving.

“The criteria we assess with is the industry’s,” he said. “The numbers game is a dangerous mindset to get into.

“Accreditation is an ongoing robust process, not a coronation. We also have a responsibility to withdraw accreditation if standards at our accredited courses slip below the criteria.

“It hasn’t happened,” he added, “because once a games course has adopted the right approach and involved the industry in its curriculum and brought real world experience in the classroom, it takes a lot to want to go back to the old ways.

Skillset also accredits programming courses, and the body is also consulting with the industry on a criteria for endorsing games design courses.

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