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Frustration at slow response to Livingstone Hope review

Thu 21 Jul 2011 2:09pm GMT / 10:09am EDT / 7:09am PDT
Education

Patience urged, but action also needed without Govt support

UK developers are disappointed at the slow response from the government to the Livingstone Hope review, but have urged patience in dealing with Westminster.

The review, which recommends that computer science be a part of the curriculum in order to help grow the UK's digital talent and economy, was released in February, but the Government has indicated that it will not respond until September at the earliest.

"I am very disappointed," said David Braben, boss of Frontier Developments. "The report is excellent and what is covered is very, very important."

Companies recruit and they mentor, and that's great, but that's a very insular, selfish way to look at it

Chris Lee, FreeStyleGames

While the Department of Culture Media & Sport has come on board and is working with UKIE, TIGA, NESTA and Skillset, the Department of Education has still not responded to the review.

Sports Interactive's Mile Jacobson said he shared the frustration, but that the report is already generating positive outcome, such as development talent signing up for after-school clubs to help students better understand video game development.

"While that is disappointing a lot of good things seem to have happened. What we're not used to as developers is things moving slowly. Everything moves so quickly technology wise and game wise.

"I share David's frustration, it's been six months and we haven't had a response from Government but apparently this is quite quick that we'll get a response by September."

Former Sony Worldwide Studios boss Phil Harrison urged patience, noting that any recommendations that are acted upon will not have an affect on the wider industry for years to come.

"Every industry that tires to find highly skilled graduates is finding it difficult. The patience that we need to have is going to be measured in decades because any changes that we make to the education system now for a child going into secondary school aged 11, it's going to be 10-plus years until they pop out the side of that. But we have to start somewhere."

Chris Lee, founder of FreeStyleGames and investor in Media Molecule, added that the industry can do more regardless of governments support, but individual studios and companies need to think on a wider scale outside of their own business.

"I do think there's more that we can do on an industry level," he said. "My big bugbear is that people trying to get into games try to get in too early. So they've stopped courses at 18 instead of trying to get a proper science degree or studied art. The real challenge starts when someone graduates so they've got all the foundations they need.

"We need to do more as an industry to try and get them from that position to something that's malleable. Individual companies do this when they recruit and they mentor, and that's great, but that's a very insular, selfish way to look at it. We need to figure out how we can help out talent."

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