He took a tour to learn more about why the centre is a world leader in teaching computer games development skills. It included a look round Abertay’s new prototyping studio, which is benefiting from a £2.5m grant from UK Government, and the opportunity to hear about progress on Abertay’s UK-wide prototyping fund to support new games ideas which was launched last year.
During the visit Mr Vaizey met university students studying for careers in the computer games industry, including specialists in game design, programming, digital art and audio engineering. He was also able to meet and congratulate the winners of the BAFTA Young Games Designer Competition whose game ‘HAMSTER: accidental world domination’ is now being developed into a working prototype by Abertay University.
The visit comes in the same week as the publication of the ‘Next Gen’ skills review by Ian Livingstone and Alex Hope which highlighted Abertay as a centre of excellence. The independent report maps the needs of the UK’s video games and visual effects industries against the skills being taught in schools and higher education institutions. The report makes a number of recommendations for education providers, the Government and the games industry.
It recommends taking Abertay University’s successful workplace simulation model and developing this across the UK. This started with the ‘Dare to be Digital’ game design competition and is central to all of Abertay’s world-leading computer games degrees.
Mr Vaizey said: “The UK is among the world’s best in games and special effects development but staying at the top will all depend on having the right talent, skills and expertise.
“Abertay was held up as the model that Higher Education institutions in the UK should emulate in a review published just this week by games industry experts. Seeing the facilities here and meeting the teaching staff it’s easy to see why.
“Students here are being given the practical skills that they will need when they start work, not just taught the theory. This is what the UK needs more of if we are to keep a place at the forefront of games development on the world stage.”
Paul Durrant, Director of Business Development at Abertay University, added: “As the Minister has seen today, Abertay prides itself on preparing graduates with the skills they need to develop and drive forward the UK’s creative industries.
“As well as training students in the demanding skills businesses need, we’re also investing directly into the most promising new, young companies. Our prototyping fund will give the most exceptional early stage companies up to £25,000 to develop their ideas into a fully working prototype, so they can attract investment to complete their project and launch a new company.
“We’re very grateful to Ed Vaizey for his continuing support for the computer games industry and crucially important initiatives like this week’s Livingstone-Hope Review. Our position as the UK Centre of Excellence will allow us to play a leading role in a number of the recommendations from the review, and the incredible talent coming out of Abertay shows that the creative industries have a very bright future, with a combination of the proper support and genuinely industry-focused education.”
Notes to Editors
The Abertay University prototyping project aims to create 30 new companies, provide important support to another 80 existing smaller businesses, and create up to 400 new jobs. An additional 300 students, graduates and professionals will have their skills developed through working on successfully funded projects.
Abertay University launched the world’s first computer games technology degree in 1997 and runs the UK Centre for Excellence in Computer Games Education. Out of the nine industry accreditations for computer games and computer arts degrees from sector skills council Skillset, Abertay University holds three. It is the only institution in the UK to hold more than one.
For information about the visit and enquiries related to the DCMS or Ed Vaizey contact: Gayle Douglas 020 7211 6145 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information about the University of Abertay Dundee contact: Chris Wilson: 07837 250 284 / 01382 308 935 or e-mail: email@example.com.
For further information about the Livingstone-Hope ‘Next Gen’ Skills Review visit the NESTA website.
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