Trade body UKIE is implementing a special training program to introduce more young people to video game development by employing the skills of the industry's most talented members.
The initiative, named the Video Games Ambassador Scheme, has been conceived to deliver the recommendations of the recent Livingstone-Hope Skills Review, which set out to significant analysis of how the UK can best encourage and develop UK talent. It encourages individuals employed in the UK games industry to become 'ambassadors' to act as role models for youngsters aged five-to-19 years old who may previously have never considered a career in the video games industry.
To deliver the scheme, UKIE is partnering with STEMNET, the organisation that promotes science, technology, engineering and maths to young people.
“The ‘Next Gen’ Livingstone-Hope skills review called on the video games industry to build a network of ambassadors who can speak to young people about interactive entertainment and to champion our industry," said UKIE board member and Eidos life president, Ian Livingstone, who worked on the report that bears his name. "I’m therefore delighted to see UKIE and STEMNET introducing the Video Games Ambassadors Scheme.”
Livingstone, who claimed that a desire by children to play games is being transfered into a desire to make them, also said that those who sign up as ambassadors will have a great deal to gain from becoming involved.
“Becoming a Video Games Ambassador is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who wants to put something back in to the industry, to do so easily and with the minimum impact on their time," he insisted. "I’d urge as many people from the world of video games to get involved and to spend a couple of hours a year investing in the future of the industry.”
The UK Government have welcomed the scheme, and praised the UK industry for 'taking the lead' with fostering the enthusiasm and skills of the next generation of game developers.
“UKIE’s introduction of a Video Games Ambassador scheme is a very welcome step," stated Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries. "It’s great to see the video games industry taking the lead to unlock the potential of the next generation of games creators. The STEM Ambassadors scheme has played a valuable role in raising awareness amongst children of the opportunities offered by careers in science and technology.
"We know from the Livingstone Hope skills review that people with the right skills get the best employment opportunities and help businesses to grow. The Government’s Plan for Growth recognises this and recommends that a focus for STEMNET’s future recruitment of STEM Ambassadors should be within the digital and creative industries.”
The scheme promises to have a minimum impact on its ambassadors' time, and will offer training and assistance from STEMNET in sourcing local volunteering opportunities at locations such as schools and colleges.
Those interested in becoming involved can find out more at the Video Games Ambassador Scheme's website.