UK games developer, Creative Assembly, has pledged more than £30,000 in laptops to support the education of disadvantaged students across the UK amid COVID-19 and beyond.
The developer’s award-winning programme, the Legacy Project, has been designed to alleviate the learning disruption caused by the pandemic this year – especially for young people from disadvantaged families, who had been disproportionately affected.
NextGen Skills Academy – an organisation committed to empowering emerging talent, industry and education in their shared goal to develop the future workforce in games, animation, VFX and associated media industries – estimates that around 25% of their Level 3 Extended Diploma students (aged 16+) do not have access to a laptop or suitable hardware at home, which is in line with the nation’s growing child poverty figures, which estimates that around 4.2m UK children are currently living in poverty.
“One of the goals of the Legacy Project is to break down the barriers to education and enable more diverse talent to pursue a game development career,” said Emma Smith, head of talent at Creative Assembly. “There are so many young talented students who are disadvantaged due to the lack of access to quality technology, and this has been amplified during the global pandemic. We want to play our part in addressing these inequalities through providing technology and expert mentorship.”
As part of the initiative, 50 in-need learners from across the UK – including Merseyside, North East England, Leicestershire, and Greater London – will be awarded a brand-new, high-performance laptop, built to run specialised games industry software applications.
Barry Hindsmarsh, NextGen course leader at Middlesbrough College, commented: “Based in one of the most deprived areas of the country, our young students already have a lot to deal with and frequently don’t have the equipment at home which matches the quality available in our institutions; these laptops will mean our students will no longer be disadvantaged because of their financial circumstances and are able to develop the skills to be a part of the games industry they dream of joining. Having the ability to work from home will support them in producing work of a higher standard and continue to develop their passion and portfolios. This is simply a game changer for them.”
Part of a longer-term partnership, Creative Assembly is a member of the strategic Employer Steering Group, supporting the delivery of the NextGen AIM Qualifications Level 3 Extended Diploma in Games, Animation and VFX Skills. Through this programme, the company provides masterclasses and sets project tasks for students, offering first-hand industry guidance, feedback and mentorship.