The Games Education Summit returns next week after a feisty first year, and this year will look closely at how the games education and recruitment sectors are affected by the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit.
The first event took place at the National Videogame Museum in Sheffield, but this year will take place on Zoom on Tuesday, September 8th from 9:30am. Details about the event can be found here.
With schools going back and education such a hot topic across the media, the Summit will feature discussions between educators training students for jobs in games development, students in the middle of their studies or after their education, and from some of the studios who are hiring during these tricky times.
Here is a run through of some of the key sessions:
09:50 - 10:35: The Great Debate
The opening session will tackle the major challenges of Covid and Brexit, with speakers from Unity, Epic, Aardvark Swift, Staffordshire and Sheffield Hallam Universities. We'll hear how universities are coping with the challenges of teaching students when dev kits are behind partially closed doors, how industry is collaborating with educators to prepare graduates for future jobs and about whether some of the radical changes to education might be permanent.
Covid has brought boom times for some games companies but challenges to others. During the Summit, we hope to find out whether the sector is still hiring graduates with the same voracious appetite as previous years, what prospects 2021 graduates will face next summer and whether internships are still viable when studios are working remotely and mentoring is virtual. Several sessions featuring recruitment companies and studio staff responsible for recruitment will shed light on that.
10:45 - 11:30: Taking on an Apprentice - worth considering?
Apprentices are in the news this week and the Summit will look at apprenticeships from the perspectives of educators, companies and students. A mid-morning session will examine how the first games-specific apprenticeships have gone, how games companies have designed programmes for apprentices and what it was like for the apprentices themselves.
11:55 - 12:40: From college to work
This session will feature interns from Priestley College's pioneering programme with TT Games, as well as their sponsor from the giant studio. We will hear from these young people about how they've coped with the radically changed environment as they start on their pathways into games careers.
13:30-14:15: Aligning the funding
One challenge unearthed last year was the mismatch between how universities are funded and the commercial requirements of games studios wanting to hire the brightest new talent globally.
Aligning the Funding will contrast two heads of department responsible for funding games courses at the London College of Communication and University of Portsmouth, alongside Nick Duncombe, who manages recruitment for Playground Games. We will hear how the financing of games education has been affected by Covid and how recruitment, especially from overseas courses, could be affected by Brexit.
Is the duty of care universities must show to all their students in conflict with the recruitment requirements of studios? Will UK graduate talent be able to meet the quality bar from UK studios? It will be fascinating to see where, and indeed if, common ground can be found between two very different, at times, competing agendas.
Last year the Summit ended on a positive note for collaboration between educators and industry, after sometimes fiery debates. Covid may have put a spanner in the works for some initiatives but this Virtual Summit will keep pressing on these key issues that, in the environment of Covid and Brexit, may be even more important now than ever.
All sessions will be recorded and shared with delegates. You can register for £39 tickets right here.
Gamesindustry.biz is the Media Partner for the Games Education Summit 2020.