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Parents, teachers and pupils "alarmingly" ignorant of games skills

First details of Government-backed Livingstone-Hope Review emerge

Parents, teachers and students have a "worrying lack of awareness" of the importance of core subjects like maths in pursuing a career in games development.

That is one of the key conclusions of the Government-sponsored Livingstone-Hope Skills Review, according to headline data released ahead of the report's publication in January.

Standout findings from the research conducted by NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, include:

  • Only three percent of 11-18 year-olds, seven percent of parents and 15 percent of teachers believe maths is the most important subject for a career in games development.
  • 30 percent of 11-18 year-olds, 18 percent of parents and 44 percent of parents believe ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) is the most important subject.
  • Only 22 percent of teachers claim to have a basic knowledge of programming.

"These findings justify industry concerns about a lack of awareness of the hard skills needed to succeed in these high tech industries," said NESTA in a statement issued to GamesIndustry.biz.

"The widespread belief among young people, parents and teachers that ICT is the most important school subject for the videogames and visual effects industries is worrying."

Eidos life president Ian Livingstone, who is leading the review with Double-Negative's Alex Hope, commented: "The UK is a centre of excellence for videogames and visual effects. However, these results point to a worrying lack of awareness amongst young people and parents, of the skills needed to get a job in our industries.

"We will set out ways to change this situation and ensure that we have the workforce that we need to stay at the top of the global development league".

Speaking to GI.biz, Livingstone added that the research represented "the biggest data collection ever carried out on the games industry".

In addition to a wide-ranging survey of games studios, IPSO-Mori has interviewed over 550 children, 900 parents of children in full-time education and over 400 teachers.

Livingstone confirmed that all data had been collected and the Review team was currently engaged in "policy development" ahead of publication, which is planned for the end of January.

NESTA added that the review "will make recommendations to Government on how the UK can become the best source of talent in the world for the videogames and visual effects industries and secure its continued rapid expansion".

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Johnny Minkley

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Johnny Minkley is a veteran games writer and broadcaster, former editor of Eurogamer TV, VP of gaming charity SpecialEffect, and hopeless social media addict.

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