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Pearson and British Esports Federation Launch First Internationally Recognised Higher National BTEC Qualifications in Esports

two guys celebrating in a gaming competition

New Level 4 and Level 5 qualifications provide esports students with progression routes to Higher Education. 

Sunderland, UK, 14th March 2024 – British Esports, the UK’s national esports federation, and Pearson (FTSE: PSON,L), the world’s leading learning company, have launched a new suite of higher-tier BTEC qualifications in Esports – the first internationally available qualifications of their kind.  

The new qualifications offer a route into careers in the exciting esports industry, which is projected to reach revenues of $4.3bn worldwide in 2024, according to Statista*.  

This continues the successful partnership between British Esports and Pearson, in developing the Level 2 and Level 3 BTECs in Esports, which have been delivered in 160+ schools and colleges to nearly 10,000 students around the world. 

The Level 4 Higher National Certificate (HNC, equivalent to the first year of an undergraduate degree) and the Level 5 Higher National Diploma (HND, equivalent to the second year of an undergraduate degree) offer students a clear progression pathway into the esports industry or wider creative industries. They help to develop students as independent-thinking professionals who can meet the demands of employers and adapt to a constantly changing world.  Learners will also develop a wide range of transferable skills and knowledge that can be applied to other digital and STEAM-based careers. 

International centres have already begun delivering these qualifications, with the UK set to begin delivery from September 2024.  

The Level 4 Higher National Certificate and Level 5 Higher National Diploma consist of 30 units, ranging from esports management, to coaching and event production, that help bring competitive gaming tournaments to life. 

Higher National qualifications are designed to meet the rising demand for high-quality professional and technical education pathways, and are developed in partnership with employers and industry experts. The qualifications offer not only a route to university, but also vital skills development, supporting the transition from Higher Education, straight into employment. Mapped to occupational standards, they equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills for employment in their chosen career.  

Kalam Neale, Head of Education at British Esports, said:

“When we partnered with Pearson four years ago to launch the world’s first Esports BTECs, we did so with the intention of creating a workforce well-prepared for the challenges and changes this fast-moving industry has seen,”

“We’re proud to have launched the Higher Nationals in Esports that will continue to strengthen the workforce of the future, and provide students with greater options and accessibility when pursuing a career in esports or in other creative industries.”  

Freya Thomas Monk, Managing Director, Vocational Qualifications & Training at Pearson, said:

“What many people don’t realise is that there is a wealth of career opportunities around the esports sector, which calls upon a whole range of supporting roles and services, including the need for financial, legal, creative and digital skills,”

“These new HNC and HND qualifications provide a seamless progression path for esports students eager to transition to the next level of their education journey – supporting the creation of long-term careers in the growing esports industry both in the UK and internationally.”  

There are a number of colleges and further education institutions across the UK and internationally who will be delivering the Higher National Esports qualifications such as Newcastle and Staffordshire Colleges Group, RNN Group and The University of Technology and Management (UTM) Vietnam to name a few. 

In addition, Sunderland College, recent winner of the AoC Beacon Awards for ‘Excellence in Real World Learning’, will be offering this exciting new qualification, with delivery from British Esports’ National Esports Performance Campus starting this academic year.  

Sheree Rymer, Faculty Director (Creative, Digital & Computing) at Sunderland College, said:

“It has been a pleasure for Sunderland College and the faculty to be working with British Esports. Our students have had access to outstanding world-class esports facilities at British Esports’ National Esports Performance Campus, and to be taught there has ensured our students are having the best training and skill development, to start their careers in the industry.”    

For graduates of the Higher Nationals, a further range of esports degrees are available from universities for students who want to pursue a top-up qualification to obtain a Level 6 Degree. 

Professor Philip Wilson, Executive Chair at the College of Esports, said:

“The progression by Pearson into Level 4 and 5 builds on their successful delivery of the Level 3 Esports BTEC. We are excited to see the growth of the industry and wider digital sector,”

“This qualification is the perfect avenue to the top-up degree available from College of Esports for Level 6 and ultimately, Level 7.”

See Pearson’s ‘Esports Careers and Skill Diversification’ infographic, to explore possible career pathways and skills within the esports ecosystem.

For more information about the Higher National BTEC Qualifications in Esports, please visit the BTEC Higher Nationals in Esports

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