Social enterprise aims to improve diversity in gaming

The Ahead Partnership is launching a programme to encourage more female and BAME students to engage with gaming careers

Social enterprise Ahead Partnership has teamed up with video game developer Sumo Digital to bring gaming careers challenges to Sheffield schools.

The partnership aims to show young people the opportunities available within the games development industry; particularly women and those from BAME backgrounds.

Careers challenges will be rolled out to schools across Sheffield, focused on making clear the different roles available in game development, and the process of creation behind the computer games familiar to the students.

The challenges will run during the last two weeks of June, and will comprise of workshops focused on audio, art, design, and technical implementation. Winners of the challenges will be invited to a finale event at Sumo Digital headquarters in Sheffield in July. During the finale, finalists will compete for the chance to win a Nintendo Switch, and games Snake Pass and Team Sonic Racing.

We need to do better at raising awareness about what [opportunities in game development] are and what the routes are into those opportunities.
– Mel Kanarek, Sheffield Digital

Mel Kanarek, co-founder and director of Sheffield Digital, said: “The digital industries are expanding rapidly and every business has a role to play in encouraging the next generation of talent. The industry needs such a wide range of skills, and offers so many exciting opportunities, but we need to do better at raising awareness about what they are and what the routes are into those opportunities. I hope that we will see many more programmes like this in the near future.”

Ahead Partnership and Sumo Digital are also aiming to provide insight into the range of technical and non-technical toles required to meet the game development skills shortage. Figures from games developer network TIGA show that only 14% of those working in the games industry are women, and reports from charity Creative Skillset reveal that only 4% were from BAME backgrounds, as of 2015.

More information about the Ahead Partnership and their work is available at