From education to employment


(L-R) - Keith Douglas, NUFC; Jake Simpson; Craig Wilson, Esports Programme Leader at Newcastle College

Newcastle United Foundation (@NUFC) and Newcastle College (@NCLCollege) are partnering to launch first and only #Esports study programme in the North East 

Do you know your META from your MOBA? 

Newcastle United Foundation and Newcastle College are partnering to launch one and two-year BTEC Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications for aspiring young competitors in the region looking to level up their skills.

Esports (also known as electronic sports) is any form of competition using video games. The exciting new course offers students the chance to represent Newcastle United Foundation (official charity arm of Newcastle United) in organised Esports competitions and fixtures throughout the academic year, alongside learning about the fast-growing creative industry.

Jake Simpson, professional Esports player and United representative in the official E-PremierLeague, will also be getting involved in the new course and offering his expertise to the next generation of competitive gamers, event managers and games business entrepreneurs.

Applications for the BTEC Level 2 and Level 3 Diplomas are now open for enrolment in September 2021 and with support from Newcastle College, Newcastle United Foundation is hosting two dedicated recruitment events this month, including an open evening on April 29 and a FIFA tournament on April 30.

Steve Beharall, Head of Newcastle United Foundation, said: “We are thrilled to be extending our ongoing partnership with Newcastle College to offer young people in our region the most up-to-date and exciting opportunities to learn and work towards new and interesting careers right here in the North East. These new courses are truly one-of-a-kind in the region and we are excited to see what the future holds for the first cohort of students starting their journey in September.”

Both course curriculums cover all aspects of the Esports industry, including competitive gaming, livestream event management and game business entrepreneurship and help to prepare young people for employment in its associated industries of sport, business and leisure.

The qualification provides a perfect pathway to a variety of careers – from Esport professional to games psychologist, livestream event organiser, sports journalist, social media manager, games designer, production crew or even international lawyer.

Students will also develop transferable skills and wider knowledge around teamwork, leadership, strategic thinking and financial planning.

Scott Bullock, Principal of Newcastle College, said: “We are excited to offer this new course and hopefully help enhance the booming tech sector here in the North East.

“In 2020, Newcastle was one of only four cities to make the Smart City Index, and this innovative, creative course will help build transferable skills and multiple learning opportunities for students to take into their future academics, apprenticeships or careers prospects.

“Esports education offers a new and innovative qualification for young people to learn and develop their knowledge and skills to prepare for their own journey into a new type of career and enjoy opportunities to join a thriving games sector.”

In recent years, the Esports industry has seen remarkable growth with tournaments hosted and live-streamed around the world, viewed by up to 30 million people online per day and broadcast across mainstream media including Sky Sports, BT Sport, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport online.

Jake Simpson, 22, from Consett, currently represents the Magpies in the ePremierLeague under the gamertag PlanetToast and is one of the top-ranking UK FIFA players, recently earning his place to compete in the EA SPORTS FIFA 21 tournament after securing victory in the 2021 ePL playoffs.

Jake will be answering student questions at events and tournaments held during the course, with young gamers able to test their talents against his from September 2021.

Newcastle United Foundation uses the power of football to motivate and inspire people to be more active, learn new skills, be more employable and to reach their potential.  The charity coaches, mentors, educates and provides opportunities to communities that truly need them, reaching more than 66,000 people each year across the North East. 

Sign up here for the Esports open event on April 29 and Newcastle United Foundation Esports FIFA tournament on April 30.

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