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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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Rachel Weber

Senior Editor

Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.