Games bootcamp leads to opportunities for Warwickshire youngsters

An innovative project to match talented young people with job opportunities in the gaming industry has resulted in one new apprenticeship offer, as well as work placements and potential job offers following completion of studies for other participants.

Ayrton Totten (22) and Natasja Hopkin (18) working on developing games at the two week video games boot camp.

The two week video games development boot camp for local young people aged between 16 and 24, took place at the end of August at Leamington-based games developer, You42. The initiative provided the nine youngsters from Warwickshire: Daniel, Peter, Ludo, Chloe, Blake, Will, Ayrton, Natasja and Joseph, with the chance to take part in training and activities where they were able to demonstrate their suitability for employment in the games industry, without necessarily going to university.

The innovative project was set up by Warwickshire County Council, JCB Skills Training and gaming company You42. Take a look at this short film to view the project in action and hear from the young people who took part:

Video: Young people succeed at Gaming Bootcamp Warwickshire

Following the initiative:

Daniel has been offered a job with an apprenticeship at You 42 when he completes his A-levels in summer 2018.

Peter, who has just started a degree in Games Technology at Coventry University, has been offered work placements at You42, with a view to possibly offering him a job after completing his studies.

Blake has started a computing course at Warwickshire College.

Ludo and Chloe are completing their final year of sixth form – they have yet to decide whether university or an apprenticeship will suit them best after they’ve completed their A-levels.

Will, Ayrton, Natasja and Joseph are being helped by JBC Training to find jobs with local companies.

You42, working in partnership with JBC Training was supported in this project with a £33,390 grant from Warwickshire County Council’s new Skills Challenge grant scheme which is designed to address skills gaps in the local economy. In the games industry, this includes roles such as software developers and software technicians.

The video games boot camp is the first project to receive funding under the grant scheme which provides grants worth between £20,000 and £40,000.

The two week project culminated in a ‘Games showcase’ where the young people involved, showed the games they’d produced to local gaming companies. Following the event, Alex Zoro, Director of Pixel Toys said: “I was really impressed with how much the students were able to achieve in such a short space of time.”

Cllr Collin Hayfield, Warwickshire County Council portfolio holder for education said: “We are delighted with the success of this project. The fact that it has already led to one new apprenticeship offer, as well as creating great experience and potential opportunities for the other participants is fantastic. The new Skills Challenge grant is designed to address immediate and pressing skills gaps in our local economy and this initiative was specifically targeted at addressing the need for skilled games developers. Following on from this success, a further similar bootcamp is in the pipeline.”

He added: “We hope other companies will be inspired to come forward with proposals for similar projects – which could include a bootcamp, or other development element, leading to recruitment opportunities for local people.

Ed Blincoe, Chief Gaming Officer at You42 said: “There is currently no visible route into the industry for local young people, especially school or college leavers. Apprenticeships are virtually non-existent in the sector. The boot camp is a great way for local non-graduates to showcase their talent.”

For more details about Warwickshire County Council’s Skills Challenge grant visit: http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/skillsforemployment