From education to employment

Renowned provider of specialist music and gaming degrees to launch Manchester-based campus this autumn

dBs Institute Sets Sights on Manchester’s Iconic New Century Hall for Landmark Northern Campus

One of the UK’s renowned specialist providers of music technology and game development degrees, dBs Institute of Sound & Digital Technologies (dBs), has its sights set on Manchester for the launch of its new sound and gaming programme in Autumn 2022. The new dBs Manchester campus will be housed inside one of the city’s most iconic music venues – New Century Hall, which will operate solely as New Century once its doors reopen – where musical legends like Tina Turner, Jimi Hendrix and The Stones have performed.

The move to Manchester comes at a crucial time for the UK tech and gaming sectors. For the first time, the city has been named the second most attractive place for tech investment outside of London, with the digital tech sector employing more than 100,000 people in 2019. The institute will contribute to the city’s growing music and gaming sectors even further, by providing a robust stream of talented graduates ready to work across the region.

The arrival of dBs Manchester will also create 30 new jobs as it builds its new faculty of employees based at New Century.

Since its founding in 1998 by Nige Burt, dBs has always considered itself as an outlier in the world of higher education and prioritised the student experience and their success over all else. While other specialist colleges may dangle fame as the ultimate outcome of an education at their institution, that isn’t the case for dBs. Rather, dBs puts its focus and resources into empowering sound and gaming students to do what they love, find fulfilment from it and create meaningful experiences through sound and gaming that change the world. It’s these experiences that enable dBs students to go on to find jobs within their specialist fields after graduation and, ultimately, build lasting careers in the industry.

dBs founder, Nige Burt, said: “For years, there has been a common misconception that audio and gaming careers are not to be taken seriously and are sometimes looked at as nothing more than an extracurricular, creative hobby, rather than a viable career path. But the truth is, while they are indeed creative, there is another extremely technical side to these types of courses, which is often overlooked. That’s why dBs Institute exists – to debunk the myths surrounding degrees in this field and to give students who are serious about audio and gaming the best start to their careers.

With all of that in mind, Manchester was the obvious choice to open a northern campus for our students. The city is renowned as a musical hotspot across the world and the game development scene is also flourishing, so a base here will open so many windows of opportunity for our students and hopefully set them up with some fantastic routes into employment following their studies, which is what we are all about as an institution.”

Key benefits of attending dBs Manchester include:

  • Deeply specialised course offerings: No other specialist institution or university can offer this to sound and gaming students.
  • Constantly refreshed equipment & technology: dBs has the most current industry-grade equipment onsite and makes sure students are given as much access and hands-on use as possible.
  • Highly qualified tutors: Courses are taught by some of the most experienced people within the sound and gaming industry, many of whom still work in the space today.

These benefits are what drove Josh Harris, an electronic music production student at dBs in Bristol to transfer from a larger university (UWE-Bristol) at the end of his first year of study. As Josh explains: “The course at the larger university was too broad and not specific to what I wanted to focus on.

“Now I study electronic music production at dBs and it’s a much more refined experience. The equipment is better and we get to use it every time we have a lecture. The student-teacher experience is also much more valuable. Our class sizes are more intimate and focused, so all our tutors take the time and effort to get to know us personally, unlike in some of the larger universities where there are up to 70 students per class, and you never speak to your lecturer outside the classroom setting.

Most of our lecturers come with a lot of industry experience. They’re big in their own fields so you trust that they’re truly knowledgeable about what they’re teaching and can really help with identifying job opportunities after graduation.”

Ahead of its grand opening in September 2022, New Century is currently going through a complete refurbishment, expertly led by local independent design specialists, Sheila Bird Studio. The dBs campus will reside in the basement of the building, with a live music venue located on the first floor, with other exciting changes in store for the iconic city landmark that will make the student experience unlike any other in the city.

For future students, dBs has designed a full programme of events to keep in touch ahead of the autumn launch date, including:

  • An exclusive industry-insider panel in May 2022, featuring industry insiders from across the music and gaming sectors.
  • An immersive Open Day for prospective students that will take place in June 2022.
  • Plus, an exclusive behind-the-scenes digital hub with all-access areas and unique content for students

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