Education

Our Education Programmes

We run award-winning programmes at the National Videogame Museum and online. Videogames matter:

The UK is at risk of falling behind in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths skills. Our young people have been switching off many of these subjects at GCSE and A level, despite these skills being critical to individual career potential in our rapidly changing modern world.

The data also show that females, people from disadvantaged backgrounds and especially people of colour are less likely to take up these key STEAM skills. The Covid-19 pandemic has made things much worse. Already up to 2 years behind children from wealthier areas, people from disadvantaged backgrounds have lost up to 4 more months of education than the average. The worst hit are BAME boys. These disadvantaged youth are extremely hard to reach and suffer from technology poverty as well as a lack of visibility of the options and choices they can make that could transform their lives.

The impact of these endemic shortages of skills and diverse talent is that our technology workforce is nowhere near as diverse as the population. This is especially true in videogames development. A generation of young people who have grown up as digital natives lack the creative technology skills they need to start long, well-paid careers in the many industries that prize these skills.

Our charity has unique answers to these serious challenges. Our not-so-secret weapon – videogames – allows us to deliver educational programming such as workshops, online courses, clubs and  conferences that address the root causes of these skills gaps and inequalities.

What can videogames do to address uptake of STEAM skills?
Videogames are played by more than half of the UK population irrespective of age. They are enjoyed by 94% of under 25s (IAB) in every community. Even the hardest to reach, most disengaged youth will drop everything to play a videogame.

Videogames are almost unique in using all the STEAM skills in their production. The successful development of games by cross-disciplinary teams of creative technologists requires the programmer, the artist, the conceptual designer, the software and hardware engineer, the writer and the project manager. An education in any one of these areas of videogame development has repeatedly been shown to take young people into hundreds of different careers, many of them unrelated to games. Most of 2020’s 11,000 UK games degree graduates will go into other careers in sectors as diverse as finance, engineering, internet as well as many other creative industries.

How do we make the connection between videogames and education?
We make these highly transferable skills fun to learn and easy to acquire through imaginative content and accessible technology. We inspire young people to find their creativity and re-engage with education. Our unique programmes blend learning seamlessly with fun, and we have long experience in engaging young people with the creativity of simple videogames development. They learn often without realising they are learning.

You can read case studies showing how disadvantaged youth reach new attainment levels in our workshops, read about our clubs that bring families together to learn about, play and make games together, discover our online careers course in which diverse candidates and hirers share how they started their careers and watch BGI convening the leading thinkers in games education to collaborate at our Games Education Summit.

Find our more about our programmes

 

Support for the BGI’s Education Programme
The BGI is an important and timely initiative to recognise excellence, support innovation and promote the UK games industry at a global level. Further, the BGI can act as a crucial link between industry, research and education; keeping the UK at the heart of cutting edge game development. Dr Mark Eyles, Animation, Games and Enterprise Section Lead, University of Portsmouth

 The BGI’s skills programme sounds like it will have real impact both for games universities like ours but also for the games sector. We welcome this kind of creative collaboration between industry and universities and look forward to being a part of the initiative. Chris Owen, Head of Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University.

The UK games industry goes from strength to strength but its studios struggle to stay up to date with the latest skills. At FutureLearn we’ve been developing the Open University’s social learning platform for precisely the kind of skills programme being proposed by the BGI team and we’re strong supporters of the initiative, not least due to the breadth of support the BGI is winning from universities as well as hundreds of games companies. Simon Nelson, CEO, FutureLearn. 

 As the National Center of Excellence for Computer Games Education, Abertay University supports the creation of a nationwide organisation to deliver training and continuing development for games professionals as part of a broad spectrum of support for the whole sector. Professor Gregor White, Head of School of Design & Informatics, Abertay University

 My work on Gradsingames.com and cat.alyst.io initiatives has shown that the games industry needs an organisation that can channel the efforts of the many, pull together disparate groups, identify and support impactful projects and ensure that industry and academia are working in synergy to tackle the skills crisis. A central organisation with a strong voice like the BGI, with games at its heart, the right financial backing and the correct organisations involved, is required to help achieve the real change required. Ian Goodall, MD, Aardvark Swift

 The UK games industry changes rapidly to stay at the forefront of technology, so sharing best practice amongst developers is a key goal in optimising that process. Universities running high quality computer science for games courses are ideally positioned to work with industry and gather the latest intel, with the BGI acting as a hub for disseminating that critical information widely. Mark Featherstone, Course Leader, Computer Science for Games, Sheffield Hallam University

 NextGen would welcome a partnership with an organisation that will deliver the shared goals of supporting new talent, increasing the diversity of our workforce and upskilling those already in the industry. These are key if we are to retain our global position. Marcia Deakin, NextGen Skills Academy

 I fully support the formation of the BGI. Games have become an essential part of both our economy and culture and the UK needs to do all it can to support a thriving sector it should be proud of. The BGI offers the potential beyond other agencies to form an organisation across industry, academia, and other groups to provide high impact collaboration. It will also address significant fundamental challenges in education and maintaining our skill sets, as well as fostering new talent in this important sector. Charlie Hargood, Senior Lecturer in Games Technology, Bournemouth University

 We’re keen to support the BGI campaign which is a very timely proposition. As one of the largest games Schools in the country, many of our highly skilled graduates are working for innovative games and VR companies here and overseas. The BGI could greatly benefit the growth of our creative digital industries in the North East and potentially support our well established Animex festival. Siobhan Fenton, Associate Dean, School of Computing, Media and the Arts, Teesside University

 Having worked closely with the games and animation industries on a number of projects it has become very apparent to me that there needs to be a stronger voice and purpose when it comes to representation of the Games industry within the UK. For this reason I think that the proposal for a BGI is very welcome and, from my perspective, will facilitate the collaboration between games and related industries in areas such as skills development and the promotion of digital content companies to the public. Amy Smith, Head of Talent, Framestore