From education to employment

Meet the kids turning gaming into a career

Meet the kids turning gaming into a career

Teenagers playing computer games might once have been the source of annoyance for parents across the country, but with the news that the video game market is now worth an estimated £5.3billion in the UK alone, things are changing.  As a result, Barking & Dagenham College became one of the first colleges in the country to offer an Esports course. 

In 2020, more than 200 million viewers tuned into esports competitions, it’s a staggering figure that represents the growing popularity of gaming. Games such as Fortnite are raking in more than 300 million registered players, with gamers earning more than £900,000 for playing professionally.  As a result, more people than ever are being drawn towards the industry and the career opportunities it presents. 

Ethan Coles, 16, from Dagenham, is one of the college’s 60+ new esports students.  Talking of how he got into gaming he said: “I’ve always enjoyed esports and always wanted to go professional.  I played against my uncle when I started and we talked about the wider industry and I realised there was a career in gaming.  My mum heard that the college had an esports course, and as soon as I knew that I wanted to enrol.” 

Ethan is certainly right about the opportunities.  The course is much wider than gaming.  It’s for serious gamers, coders, You Tuber’s and animators, who not only game, but who want to develop the knowledge and skills needed for things like event planning, sports journalism, coaching, branding and design or administration roles in the games industry.   

Elliot Bond, Schools and Colleges Liaison Officer, British Esports Association explains further:

“The esports industry is currently enjoying rapid growth, particularly during the pandemic when the majority of traditional competitions were brought to a halt. Simultaneously, the education around the benefits of esports has become more widespread and well-known, and the assumption that esports is just about playing computer games is waning. The public are becoming more aware of the wide range of intrinsic skills, character development, and career opportunities the industry offers, and many colleges like Barking & Dagenham College are really stepping up to offer training alongside industry experts to really prepare students for the world of work. I look forward to seeing the esports sector develop in the coming years.”

The College has a working partnership with Esports Insider, one of Europe’s leading gaming companies and has its own gaming arena with state of the art equipment, located in the new East London Institute of Technology, at Barking & Dagenham College.  As part of the course students also become members of the college’s elite gaming team and take part in national competitions and leagues. This will certainly be useful for Ethan, who would like to become a professional gamer and start earning money from competitions. 

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