TIGA, the trade association representing the UK games industry, made a series of proposals to the Government to help address skill shortages in the UK and to improve the skills and training system. TIGA made the comments in response to the Government’s consultation document Skills for Sustainable Growth.
Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, said:
“UK game developers rely on highly creative, technical people with skills and qualifications in areas such as design, programming, artificial intelligence, animation, mathematics and physics. Such skilled people are not easy to find. TIGA research indicates that 39 per cent of games businesses found it fairly or very difficult to fill vacancies in their organisation’s workforce during 2009. Of those game developers who experienced skill shortages whilst recruiting last year, programming, design and management positions were hardest to fill.
“If skill shortages are to be minimised then the Government should:drop the proposed cap on the migration of highly skilled workers with a job offer into the UK; place no restrictions on the freedom of publisher owned studios to facilitate intra-company transfers; provide strong financial incentives to attract the best graduates to teach in schools; highlight the video games industry as a career option at school; aim to increase the proportion of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) devoted to higher education in the UK from the current 1.3 per cent (competitor countries spend more on tertiary education, for example, the USA spends 3.1%, Canada spends 2.6%, and Japan spends 1.5%); ensure that tuition fees for students studying mathematics and computer science degrees are competitively priced in comparison to other degrees to incentivise the study of these subjects; consider the introduction of an SME Training Tax Relief; aim to keep the tax burden on businesses and individuals as light as possible in order to leave them with more resources to invest in training and skills development; shrink the funding gap between FE colleges and schools so that FE colleges can fund courses more generously and be better placed to recruit and retain staff; consider giving FE colleges more money in the form of a direct block grant, based on their success in attracting student numbers, to enable them to provide courses that meet employer and learner demand; introduce Individual Learning Accounts whereby publicly funded accounts for training under the control of learners could be supplemented by employer and learner contributions in order to help create a demand led training system; and avoid assuming that apprenticeships are the primary work based learning mechanism in all sectors – different courses and qualifications will be appropriate in different economic sectors.” Philip Oliver, TIGA board member and CEO of Blitz Studios, said:
“Many game developers invest time and money in workforce development and in education outreach programmes. The Government could help many small games businesses to invest in skills and training by introducing a Training Tax Relief. This measure would operate in a similar way to the existing R&D tax credits. Small and medium-sized enterprises would be able to offset expenditure on training, Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for staff and education outreach activities against corporation tax.”
Jason Kingsely, TIGA Chairman and CEO and Creative Director of Rebellion, said:
“As a voluntary association of employers, trade associations like TIGA have a sound understanding of the industry’s skills needs. Trade associations are best placed to articulate the industry’s skill needs and they should have a key role to play in shaping the skills system. TIGA and its members are already taking steps to address skill shortages: a typical TIGA member spends 6 per cent of their turnover on training; TIGA has published a guide to careers in the video games sector; and we are working with T2G and over 25 universities and colleges to strengthen industry-education links and to provide practical solutions to the industry’s skills needs. We look forward to working with the Government and other partners in enhancing skills in the games industry.”
Notes to editors:
TIGA is the trade association representing the UK’s games industry. The majority of our members are either independent games developers or in-house publisher owned developers. We also have games publishers, outsourcing companies, technology businesses and universities amongst our membership. TIGA was awarded ‘Trade Association of the Year’ and the ‘Member Recruitment Award’ at the Trade Association Forum Best Practice Awards 2010. TIGA has also been named as a finalist in the 2010 Chartered Management Institute (CMI) National Management and Leadership Awards in the category of ‘The Outstanding Organisation of the Year Award (SME)’.
TIGA's vision is to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business. We focus on three sets of activities: political representation, generating media coverage and developing services that enhance the competitiveness of our members. This means that TIGA members are effectively represented in the corridors of power, their voice is heard in the media and they receive benefits that make a material difference to their businesses, including a reduction in costs and improved commercial opportunities.
For further information, please contact Eva Field, TIGA PR Manager on: 07814 039 983, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.