• New course being designed with AQA
  • Students creating playable games and are better prepared for the job market
  • Local games businesses and leaders working with students to support education

“We’re really excited to be putting this together with the help of some legends in the business, not just in and around Leamington, but across the country” 


 

A wet February day in the heart of England.  Leafy streets and broad fronted Georgian buildings pave the way to a place I think of quite affectionately as my old College.  The journey to the entrance is similar to when I attended the college of art here at Warwickshire College, Leamington Spa in 1995.  What has changed however is the campus, my oh my – this place is really something; a large atrium now greets visitors exposing three floors each decorated with sweeping cedar panel work…ok I don’t know what wood that is.

I’m here to meet Mike Acosta the Manager of the colleges Foundation Degree Games Art course.  The purpose of my visit today is to have a look at a new course Mike has been crafting together with the UK’s largest awarding body AQA for the past 18 months in an effort to boost the standard of education in the games sector for further education level 3 students nationwide.

This is my second visit to the college in as many years and the new course in development that Mike has to show me promises a massive leap in information from the previous Game Art courses taught at level 3.  “We’re really excited to be putting this together with the help of some legends in the business, not just in and around Leamington, but across the country” Mike continues, “We have worked with University and industry to re-design a course where the modules will cover subjects usually reserved for higher education. We’ve had a lot of interest from colleges looking to switch to this new course”.

mwc_outside

The impact of what Mike is showing me cannot be understated, the subjects usually taught at Degree level will now be drawn, in part, down into the level 3 (equivalent to A level) course, providing students with a deeper knowledge of the video games business and better preparing them for specialisation at higher education or a faster route into the job market.

Mike shows me twelve key areas of Art and Design in games development covering everything from game design and business to VFX and animation. Mike is currently working with experienced and veteran game developers in the area to help with both internal and externally examined modules, four of the modules will be externally assessed with theoretical and practical exam papers written in collaboration with the industry.  The remaining eight modules are set internally and utilise a much longer time period in comparison.  By working with external businesses the course enables students the chance to work on live briefs, approved by game studios to ensure relevance to today’s industry.

During my visit, I was also privileged to meet the present student body of the Games Art Foundation Degree course (level 4/5). This course was also set up by Mike with the input of ten local studios three years ago. It caters for the first two years of a higher education degree and I was able to talk to three mini development teams Mike has set up in their in house game studio ‘Studio 694’.  The dev teams were keen to share their progress on a short project to build a game.  What surprised me was the variety of game ideas the teams had come up with, two were platform game’s and another was a 3rd person-endless-runner style mobile game.

“The plan is to take this successful model tried and tested with the Foundation Degree here at Warwickshire College Group and run it nationwide with awarding body AQA, offering students across the country an option to study an industry advised course at their local college, giving them the knowledge necessary to either specialise at higher education, or seek employment.”

Leamington Spa and the surrounding area continues to expand as a centre for Games Development and Warwickshire College Group are clearly working to meet the demand of this growing success in the region, and are happy to share this with the country through this new soon to be, nationally recognised course.

Leamington Spa and the surrounding area continues to expand as a centre for Games Development and Leamington College are working to meet the demand of this growing success in the region.

mwc_insideWhat are the key subjects you think should be taught to students of 16-18 yrs studying Games Art and Development?

We would be delighted to hear your comments.