Manchester’s digital scene is set for a major boost as Access to Games opens the largest gaming college in the region to meet the needs of the video-games industry.
The games industry is the fastest growing creative sector in the world, contributing over £4bn to the UK economy last year.
In response to this, Access to Games, a branch of Access to Music, is investing £1m in the latest software, facilities and industry teaching talent, which will be headed up by Mikael Hellberg, a seasoned game developer from Sweden.
Mikael will be overseeing the development of the games courses in a creative and collaborative environment from the Access to Games centre in the heart of Manchester city centre.
He said: “Manchester’s games and tech sector competes on a global level. To keep it that way, and to cope with the predicted continued growth of the sector, we need to find and nurture home-grown talent. This helps with responding to the skills needs of the games community and develop a real eco-system.
“Our students come from all backgrounds and academic achievements, as passion is key to succeed in any creative industry. Our team will teach and nurture the skills required by the industry. These include games art, character modelling and animation. They will also learn best practices about the business side of games production, including marketing, distribution and ultimately prepare them for the industry.”
Access to Games is a privately-owned college, with free courses for students aged 16-23. It currently trains over 250 students in Manchester and over 2000 across the UK.
The college offers specialized, industry-led pathways in games design starting in September 2017, and from next year it will also offer progression routes into Games Art & Technology and Animation & VFX.
Students can train between 1 and 2 years and gain a nationally recognised B-Tech qualification extended diploma in creative media production.
Jason Beaumont, director of business development, said: “Access to Games is part of Access to Music, a national creative college now celebrating it’s 25th year in teaching and training young creatives. We have centres throughout the UK and are renowned for training some of the UK’s finest music talent, including Ed Sheeran - who is now a patron of the brand. We look forward to training the next generation of gaming talent and contributing to a rapidly growing creative sector.”