Students across the region interested in developing a career in the Games sector got to hear from leading players in industry at an interactive seminar at Royal Leamington Spa College on April 29-30.
Hosted by the college’s own Games Art department, the 2-day event included talks and panel sessions with experts working for internationally-recognised studios such as Playground, Ubisoft and Pixel Toys, along with leading games designers such as The Oliver Twins, Pete Barnard and Alex Darby.
Leamington is nationally recognised as leading the way in games development, from small ‘indie’ teams up to international studios working on highly anticipated blockbuster games. The college, part of the multi-site educational group WCG, offers a range of full-time courses at all levels in games art and design.
Following a welcome address by Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Weston, visiting students from Stratford upon Avon School, North Warwickshire & Hinckley College, The Chase School, Malvern and the college’s own Games Art students got a direct insight into the range of specialisms in this dynamic and fast-paced creative sector.
Subject matter included the history of game development in Leamington, specialist skills and techniques in animation, 3D modelling and concept art. Students also received key advice and insider tips on how to succeed in the competitive world of games development. Several WCG games art alumni who have gone on to create successful careers in the industry also returned to talk about their personal journey.
According to a recent report by the Entertainment Retailers Association, the video games sector now accounts for more than half of the UK’s entire entertainment market. The industry is worth £3.86bn making it more lucrative than the video and music industry combined.
Amber Silcock, a student on the BA Honours Games Art course at Royal Leamington Spa College, said: “The Let's Talk Games event was inspirational to students of various levels with information relevant to those just starting to study games and those seeking to break into the industry. It was great for me to see such a variety of speakers with roles ranging from artists to production and management, showing many potential career paths that some might not have thought about before.”
The 21-year-old undergraduate from Leamington has already secured a full-time job as a Live Operations Coordinator at Excalibur Games, based in Banbury when she graduates this year. She added: “Studying Games Art has allowed me to explore the different sectors of the games industry and excel my skills in environment art and project management. Seizing all opportunities the course offered me helped open the door for me to this role.”
Head of Department for Higher Education Games at WCG, Mike Acosta said: “The event was designed to showcase that 'Silicon Spa' is very much alive and kicking and to give local schools, as well as our own games students, access to leading experts from across the country. I am delighted that the industry jumped at the chance to speak with the next generation of games artists and help them on their journey.”
Development Director of Excalibur Games, Steve Stopps addressed the event on the secret of creative collaboration. He said: "Video Games are at the heart of the UK's digital manufacturing industry, yet so few people are aware of the career opportunities we offer, and our growing contribution to the UK economy.
“People can only aspire to jobs they know exist, and this event provides a snapshot of the incredible work done by Leamington Spa College do to ensure its students understand the creative and commercial realities of working in the sector. Having recently offered one of their students a full-time role, we have first-hand experience of the quality and maturity of the talent they are producing. However, this level of professionalism is only possible with ongoing support from our industry."
Matt Weston MP said: “I’m immensely proud that ‘Silicone Spa’ has become a leading light in the UK games industry. This area is a hub for innovation, with growing opportunities for developers, creatives. Royal Leamington Spa College offers a range of courses to provide those aspiring to work in the games industry with the specialist skills needed to succeed. It’s crucial that we foster young talent and the ‘Let’s talk Games’ event was fantastic at providing students with the industry knowledge to kick start their career in the sector.”
For more information the Games Art courses at WCG go to www.wcg.ac.uk or call 0300 456 0049.
Photo caption: Left to right Steve Stopps, Amber Silcock and Mike Acosta
Notes to editors:
WCG is one of the largest general further and higher education college groups in the UK, providing high quality education and training for individuals and organisations at a local, regional, national and international level.
The group has seven colleges – Royal Leamington Spa, Rugby, Moreton Morrell, Pershore, Evesham, Malvern Hills and Warwick Trident, with over 17,000 students and more than 1000 courses.
WCG works in partnership with a large number of local and national employers across industry and is the largest college provider of apprenticeship training in the region, with over 2,000 apprentices trained every year.
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