Govt "acutely aware that skills development is crucial"

DCMS recognises that ICT offerings are in need of reform, supportive of Next Gen action plan

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has responded to the Livingstone Hope review, offering support for the Next Gen action plan.

"The economic and cultural value of the UK's video games and VFX sectors is clear and the long-term potential of their global markets present a great opportunity for UK-based businesses," said Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey, who commissioned the initiative in July 2010.

"It is an industry that has real potential to create the high quality jobs of the future that will be so important as we recover from the recession. We need to invest in talent that will ensure the UK remains at the forefront of games creativity."

The Next Gen plan offered 20 recommendations to boost the video games and visual effect industries in the UK, and the response which, it should be noted, has come from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, rather than the Department for Education, is broadly supportive of them all.

"We are acutely aware that skills development is a crucial issue for the sectors if we are to build on their reputation and exploit the growing market opportunities. Next Gen sets out some compelling ideas for how the UK can be transformed into a world leader in video games and VFX."

It recognises that current ICT offerings in schools are in need of reform, with special mention given to improving the standard of teaching and the use of computer programmes to teach maths.

The Next Gen plan also included the call for a video games and visual effects career strategy, but the response makes clear while reforms are planned for career's advice within schools, the content will still be left largely to the institutions.

"The Government will not prescribe what schools should do. As part of providing independent, impartial advice about options, schools may choose to bring in external careers professionals either for particular pupils or at particular stages, but this should be for the school to decide."

It was however supportive of plans for the industry to provide online resources for students and teachers.

Higher education will also be addressed, although industry accreditation of course will not necessarily lead to a promise of HEFCE funding. What is vigorously supported is communication and co-operation between the industry and university courses to provide information for students and future employment, as well as increasing awareness of games and visual effects as employment opportunities.

"What we would like is much more contact between employers and the HE sector to ensure skill needs are addressed," said the response.

"We are already seeing great examples of the large employers such as Blitz Games, BabyCow and IBM, backing specific courses or direct engagement through academy sponsorship, internship programmes and apprenticeships."

Eidos life president Ian Livingstone gave his thoughts on the government's response earlier today.

"The government's response to the Livingstone Hope Review is very encouraging," he said.

"To recognise that the current ICT programme is insufficiently rigorous is a great step forward and opens the door to curriculum reform. Computer science is essential knowledge for the 21st century and we recommend nothing less than it being included in the national curriculum. The UKIE-backed Next Gen Skills coalition will continue to work with government to try to make this happen."

Today UKIE launched a Next Gen Skills campaign backed by Google and Abertay University, to lobby the government on education reform and push for computer programming to be part of the National Curriculum.

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Latest comments (3)

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 6 years ago
As a start the industry could create some Moodle modules covering some of the basic skill areas.
These would be popular with all the wannabes and fanboys as well as school students.

It could be done as an ongoing project, adding more content areas as resources allow.

It is a great pity that we don't have a Games Council to organise this.
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Dave Hawes Project Manager coding, Eutechnyx6 years ago
Whilst it is certainly true that we need more people doing maths and computer science (NOT ICT) at a school level, for a range of business, the problem facing the games industry is quite closely linked to the misalignment between university provision and student expectation. I have been actively involved in advising universities on course policy and in recruitment for many years, and there are some real problems here.

Most students who go onto games courses do so because they want to get a job in the industry. Some courses fail in this regard as they simply do not have the quality of course material or lecturers that are appropriate to what the industry actually needs. It is heart breaking to interview a guy who has good GCSE's, good A-Levels, is clearly a smart guy but has been lead down completely the wrong path at Uni with skills that will never get him a job in the industry, no one wants to hear "go back and do another degree at a uni with a skillset accredited course!".

Equally there are a lot of uni's who have a focus on academic output, so whilst they provide an excellent education, its directed at turning the student into a researcher not a developer. This decision is sometimes made in a universities goal for getting more research, without filtering through to the course PR which should make it clear to a student that they are not getting an industry ready education (which is what many of them will desire).

Accreditation from the industry is a big part of the solution for this, but I feel the message needs to be hammered home to students who are choosing universities. They must not take a course that is not accredited if they want to get a job in the industry. They will be paying out their tuition fee's and their considerable investment in time for an outcome they don't want. If Universities are allowed to manage their own marketing and PR in this regard, many cannot be trusted to not operate in their own financial self-interest. So stronger effort is needed from industry and from those in the government that care about this sort of thing to make sure students are making informed choices.

Some universities really do a great job in this regard, so I don't want to come across as negative about all UK universities, but some are not, and it is a problem.
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Tony Johns6 years ago
We need to have some Game Engines being taught at High School level as well as Game Engines being taught in college as well as University level in the first year.

Also create a course specialized in Computer Games, not something that is tacked onto the IT units that unfortunately what happened to me in my university.
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