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UKIE partners with STEMNET on games ambassador scheme

Trade body issues call to industry for volunteers to promote development skills in schools

UK trade association UKIE has announced a partnership with STEMNET, an organisation which promotes science, technology, engineering and maths to students, on the introduction of a plan to encourage more students to consider studying those subjects - and ultimately generate more skilled graduates for the video games sector.

The Video Games Ambassadors Scheme aims to enlist volunteers from the video games industry to act as role models for young people, and has been set up to tackle an area identified by the government's Livingstone-Hope Review as problematic.

"The 'Next Gen' Livingstone-Hope skills review called on the video games industry to build a network of ambassadors who can speak to young people about interactive entertainment and to champion our industry," said the report's co-author and UKIE board member Ian Livingstone. "I'm therefore delighted to see UKIE and STEMNET introducing the Video Games Ambassadors Scheme.

"A desire by children to play video games has to be transferred into a desire to make them," he continued. "Video games provide the perfect medium to encourage young people to study maths and science, and we want those children to become the highly skilled video games workforce of tomorrow."

Livingstone also outlined the benefits of getting involved with the scheme, noting that volunteers receive full training - and that the commitment of time needn't be huge.

"Becoming a Video Games Ambassador is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who wants to put something back in to the industry, to do so easily and with the minimum impact on their time," he said. "I'd urge as many people from the world of video games to get involved and to spend a couple of hours a year investing in the future of the industry."

And Ed Vaizey, minister for culture, communications and industries, added: "UKIE's introduction of a Video Games Ambassador scheme is a very welcome step. It's great to see the video games industry taking the lead to unlock the potential of the next generation of games creators.

"The STEM Ambassadors scheme has played a valuable role in raising awareness amongst children of the opportunities offered by careers in science and technology. We know from the Livingstone Hope skills review that people with the right skills get the best employment opportunities and help businesses to grow.

"The Government's Plan for Growth recognises this and recommends that a focus for STEMNET's future recruitment of STEM Ambassadors should be within the digital and creative industries."

More information on signing up for the Ambassador scheme is now available on the UKIE website.

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Phil Elliott