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Next Gen Skills campaign isn't TIGA's "strategic priority"

Wilson explains why trade body hasn't joined the coalition with UKIE, NESTA and supporting tech giants

Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA, has explained the trade association's absence from the new Next Gen Skills campaign, which aims to lobby the government for improvements in computer science education.

"It's simply because there are certain things we want to focus on, certain things we want to concentrate on, the tax issue is very, very important to us, access to finance is very important to us," Wilson told GamesIndustry.biz

"We have a specific agenda around improving education skills, we've done things like the Education Matching scheme, and it's just a matter of strategic priority, we want to focus on those two activities."

The Next Gen Skills campaign coalition, spearheaded by UKIE and its publishing partners including Microsoft, EA and Activision, is backed by Google, Microsoft, NESTA, the Guardian Media Group and TalkTalk.

Despite not getting on board the lobbying group, Wilson was keen to point to TIGA's commitment to the education issue, and said there was much both in the report and the government's response that TIGA supported.

"We've been publishing stuff on trying to to improve education and skills to make the games industry even better for some time," he added.

"In fact when you look at those first ten recommendations that were listed in the Next Gen report a lot of them were already in TIGA proposals."

Richard Wilson said earlier in the year that TIGA has no interested in merging with UKIE, despite calls from the government and industry professionals for the UK's trade associations to speak with a unified voice.

While TIGA and its members aren't involved, the UK's other trade association has gone ahead and stumped up £30,000 to kick-start the Next Gen Skills campaign.

And yesterday Ian Livingstone, author of the Livingstone Hope report on which the campaign is based, hailed the first steps as successfully initiating a "quantum shift" on government thinking on computer science in the classroom.

"[Culture Minister] Ed Vaizey saw this issue was important," said Livingstone. "Now we've made enough noise for the Department of Education and BIS [the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills] to take notice. We expect future negotiation to be with the DfE."

As well as tech giant Google, Facebook has also agreed to sign up to the coalition, according to Livingstone, and progress is being made with Education Secretary Michael Gove.

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Rachel Weber

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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.

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