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Computer Games Courses Kitemark Announced

Friday 28 October 2005/... Degree level computer games courses are to receive an industry kitemark through a new scheme launched by Skillset, the Sector Skills Council for the audio visual industries. The accreditation scheme will evaluate courses across the UK and give the industry's endorsement to those which meet agreed industry standards.

The scheme has been developed in consultation with industry organisations ELSPA and TIGA, the Higher Education sector, and Skillset's Computer Games Skills Forum, Chaired by Ian Livingstone, and made up of high profile experienced industry figures including representatives from Activision, Blitz Games, Codemasters, EA, Sony and Visual Science.

Richard Leinfellner of EA, who will be acting as an industry evaluator on behalf of the Games Forum, said:

'Over the years I have seen widely varied content within Computer Games Courses. With many students now taking games courses as an entry point into the industry it is important for us provide guidelines on the types of skills needed to be successful. Being involved in the course evaluation team provides an opportunity to do this. Students will benefit from by getting a firm grounding in the pure core disciplines such as computing, math, science and art with relevant games specific components woven in.'

Mike Rawlinson, a member of the Skillset Computer Games Forum and Deputy Director General of ELSPA, said:

"Skilled people are invaluable in this industry and to ensure a steady supply, with the right mix of skills needed to bolster our businesses, we have to support the education providers. We can do that through Skillset and this accreditation scheme. The courses highlighted by the scheme will help build stronger links between education and industry enabling the industry to become more involved and give us a target for our time and resources in terms of guest lecturing and workshops."

Kate O'Connor, Deputy CEO and Director of Policy and Development at Skillset, said:

"The priority is on key enduring and transferable skills. The industry has told us they want and need graduates who are flexible and able to adapt to new technologies and we have built this accreditation scheme around those core values looking for courses that focus on skills that transcend technical boundaries. We will also ensure that courses that achieve accreditation have a focus on these core technical skills framed within a real-world business context"

Courses will be evaluated on several key areas for each strand including:

  • Programming: programming languages and maths
  • Art: drawing (particularly anatomy); the ability to follow briefs, creatively and technically.
  • Design: communication; understanding potential markets.

All courses will be assessed on their industry links and industry involvement, for example, hardware and new technologies, work placements, guest lecturers and industry input into course content.

Accreditation is a two stage process starting with industry assessors (all of whom are experienced industry professionals) examining the course content and structure, and investigating industry links. Successful courses will then be visited by the lead evaluator, a technical specialist and a Skillset staff member, to review student work, tour the facilities, and interview staff and students. The final decision on each course will be made by the Computer Games Skills Forum.

Successful courses will be announced in June 2006. For more information visit: www.skillset.org

- ENDS -

SKILLSET PRESS OFFICE: Eve Ragout 020 7520 5752 / 07968 010 325 eve@skillset.org

1. Skillset is the Sector Skills Council for the Audio Visual Industries. Audio visual industries in this context means, Broadcast, Film, Video, Interactive Media and Photo Imaging. Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) are independent, UK wide organisations developed by groups of influential employers in industry or business sectors of economic or strategic significance. SSCs are employer-led and actively involve trade unions, professional bodies and other stakeholders in the sector.

2. Computer Games Skills Forum Membership: Chair: Ian Livingstone, Product Acquisition Director, Eidos - www.eidos.co.uk; Deputy Chair: Orla Byrne, Group HR Director, Activision - www.activision.co.uk; Chris Keegan, Development Director, Climax - www.climaxgroup.com; Geraldine Randle, HR Manager, Blitz Games - www.blitzgames.com; John Broomhall, Audio Director & Consultant, Broomhall Project Ltd - www.johnbroomhall.co.uk; John Duthie, HR Manager, Visual Science - www.vissci.com; Louisa Steensma, HR Manager, THQ - www.thq.com; Mark Johnston, Academic Team, Microsoft - www.microsoft.com; Mary Timlin, Vice President, Human Resources, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe -www.scee.com; Richard Gale, Rare - www.rareware.com; Sarah Seaby, Marketing Director, Take Two - www.take2europe.com; Simon Prytherch, Head of Internal Development, Empire Interactive - www.empireinteractive.com; Sheila Kettle, Human Resources Manager, Kuju Entertainment - www.kuju.com; Stephen Harrison-Mirfield, Director of Human Resources, Codemasters - www.codemasters.com; Susan Eilfield, HR Director and Jenny Brown, University Relations Manager, EA - www.europe.ea.com; Tanya Kennedy, HR Manager, SEGA Europe - www.sega.co.uk; Fred Hasson, CEO, TIGA - www.tiga.org; Mike Rawlinson, Deputy Director General, ELSPA - www.elspa.com;John Kroeger, Head, Computer Games Publishing, DTI - www.dti.gov.uk

3. TIGA (www.tiga.org) is the trade body that represents the business and commercial interests of UK and European games developers to government departments, publishers, financial institutions and opinion formers. TIGA lobbies Treasury (Inland Revenue), DTI and DCMS on issues specific to the sector, such as tax breaks and on the definition of R&D Tax Credits as it applies to the industry. TIGA is a founder member of the European Games Developers Federation and the Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival (www.eief.co.uk). TIGA publishes the Games 'Best Practice Handbook' (free to developer members) with sections on Model Contracts, Claiming R&D Tax Credits, Best Practice in Outsourcing, Finding the right Games Insurance and Piracy. Further elements to be added this year include more on Outsourcing Best Practice, Model Contracts and European, National and Local support schemes and funds available to developers. Tiga also publishes a regular bulletin on International Trade and Export Opportunities to members. TIGA Membership is open to all developers whether independent or publisher owned. TIGA also has a thriving community of affiliate members who provide services and support to the industry. Please email info@tiga.org for further information.

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