University of Westminster hosts first Saturday Skills Club supported by Sony Interactive Entertainment 30 March 2022 As part of the University’s commitment to supporting underrepresented groups and increasing participation from BAME communities in the computing and digital engineering sector, the University has launched its Games Academy Club. The club is for young people aged 16-18, particularly those in underrepresented groups, which aims to introduce new skills and information about the creative industry and encourage pupils to pursue a career in gaming and other areas of interactive entertainment. During their time taking part in the Saturday Skills Club, members will work to produce a publishable game demo for either PC or Android by using various techniques and tools currently used in the games development industry. Students from nine schools and colleges took part in the first day of the club, working with gaming industry mentors Paul Rosson and Benjamin Foote, Part-Time Visiting Lecturers from Westminster’s Computer Games Development BSc Honours course, as well as two current students studying on the course. The club attendees were joined by Simon Hermitage, Design Director from Sony Interactive Entertainment, who spoke to attendees about his journey into the sector. He said: “It was my great pleasure to connect with members of the Games Club on Saturday. I spoke to the group about my own journey into Game Design and how I felt that Game Development offers exciting careers for a hugely diverse group of people from all walks of life. “I also talked about how whilst having great hard skills is important, it’s the soft skills that and personal interests that really separate candidates going for a role. People wanting to get into the industry should sharpen their hard skills and be able to communicate what value only they could add to a development team because of their background, personality, interests and life experience.” Following this, the club members then started on their team projects where they looked at the initial concept for their game which they presented in their teams towards the end of the day. In the coming weeks, club members will work their ideas into a game with the help of Westminster’s excellent facilities. There will be a further session on careers and a visit to a virtual reality arcade centre in London as part of their experience. Both the University and SIE are committed to providing opportunities and support to ensure that people from every background can recognise their true potential. Talking about the partnership, Jordan Scammell, Head of Development and Fundraising at Westminster, said: “It’s great to see the Games Academy Club series launch with our partner schools. These highly interactive workshops are both fun and engaging and inspire our pupils to consider a career behind the gaming screen they are used to playing in front of. I’d like to extend my thanks to Sony Interactive Entertainment for helping to inspire the next generation of talent.” To find out how you or your organisation can support similar skills clubs, please contact [email protected].