A bespoke gaming room has been developed at Coleg y Cymoedd ready for the launch of two new specialised video game development courses at the college later this year.
A £50k investment has seen the creation of an industry-standard gaming suite at the Aberdare campus with sector specific computers and equipment used by a range of professionals in the field, from programmers and designers to video game testers and sound engineers.
Following the creation of the gaming facility at Aberdare, the college is also in the process of developing a bespoke IT and animation room at its Rhondda campus with a further £50k investment, which will enhance the skills of creative learners studying the games art, design and animation qualifications.
The new facilities will help to prepare learners for a successful future career in the lucrative gaming industry, estimated to be worth more than £3.86 billion in the UK alone and over £117 billion worldwide. Jobs in gaming are predicted to increase threefold by 2025 resulting in growing demand for skilled workers in the sector.
In response to this, Coleg y Cymoedd’s Creative Industries and Computing and Engineering departments have joined forces to offer learners an all-encompassing curriculum tailored to meet the demands of the booming gaming industry.
The new gaming room at Aberdare coincides with the launch of two new courses at the college focusing on Game Development and IT, and Game Design, Art and Animation.
Qualifications in Game Development and IT, provided by the college’s Computing and Engineering department, will be offered at its Aberdare and Ystrad Mynach campuses. Learners on these courses, which will teach the fundamental skills needed for video game development, will benefit from the industry equipment and resources that the new gaming room will provide.
Based at the Rhondda campus, the qualification in Game Design, Art and Animation offered via the Creative Industries department will have a finer focus on the design elements of video game development, teaching learners about the latest industry design trends and technology as well as the technical skills needed to succeed in the field.
David Howells, Head of Coleg y Cymoedd’s Computing and Engineering school, said: “We are excited to introduce our new gaming qualifications and welcome our first cohort of learners to our new specialist gaming suite. These courses and facilities will help give learners the skills they need to enter the growing gaming industry.
“We are seeing huge demand for digital skills from employers and the gaming industry in particular is seeing an increase in popularity both in our local community and around the world. It is important to us that we match the rapid development of this sector, and the growing interest in careers within it, with suitable qualifications that will give learners the transferrable digital skills they need to prosper in the gaming industry.”
The collaboration between the Creative Industries and Computing and Engineering departments at Coleg y Cymoedd marks the first of further plans at the college designed to place it at the forefront of digital and gaming teaching provisions.
As well as providing learners with access to state-of-the-art industry equipment and training from specialist tutors with valuable industry experience, the college is also encouraging cross-curriculum collaboration on courses which cross over both departments, such as video game audio commentary, further boosting learners’ skillsets.
Rory Meredith, Head of School for the Creative Industries at Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “Our new course provisions will help to meet the growing appetite for gaming that we are seeing from both learners and industry. By working together across departments, we can ensure learners develop the full repertoire of skills they will need to enter the modern gaming industry, helping prepare them for potential careers in a range of different roles.”
In addition to investments in new facilities, Coleg y Cymoedd is also planning to launch its own ‘eSports’ team to give learners further hands-on experience, with a goal to compete nationally.
The world of video game tournaments has gained prominence in recent years and is recognised and supported by the UK Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. With a number of major competitions such as the 2021 British Esports Championships and UK League Championships, the new team will provide learners across the college with the opportunity to get involved in this emerging industry regardless of their course background.