Esports visits Number 10!

Last year the BBC reported that the video games industry is now worth a staggering £7.16 billion! To celebrate the growing success of the video game sector in the UK, No.10 Downing Street hosted a Cultural Events Programme on Tuesday 25th and Wednesday 26th April.

The event featured gaming businesses and organisations and was attended by ministers, Members of Parliament, senior industry representatives, players, and our very own Esports crew!

Following on from the huge success of our Esports Team at this year’s Super Smash Bros Ultimate Team Battle senior tournament, staff and students were invited to attend the No. 10 event in support of Ukie and Digital Schoolhouse. The aim was to help raise awareness of the value of Esports in education and the opportunities the industry can offer.

We caught up with some of our Esports teaching team, Chris Baxter, Tony Gilbert and Hannah Thandi, to find out more about the experience and the opportunities available within Esports:

How important do you think Esports is within education?

Esports is very important in education as it combines a range of subjects, such as business, sport and fitness, media production and psychology. This gives leaners a broad range of skills that equip them not only for working in the Esports industry, but also many other industries where these are valuable. Also, the fact that the College offers qualifications in Esports and engages with employers in the industry shows young people that we’re listening to them, we care about the things they’re interested in, and are invested in supporting them with routes into the new careers that they want to get into.

What did you learn from the event?

This event was a great opportunity for learners to again feel heard and recognised by members of our government, and to demonstrate that their support and investment in Digital and Esports education is so important. We got to meet not only Members of Parliament and the Cabinet, but also industry representatives from multiple major gaming companies, as well as indie developers, BAFTA award winners, and Esports content creators.

How did you find the experience?

It was a surreal experience! It’s not every day that we commute into London and exit right in front of Westminster Abbey, let alone go through security gates to walk up and knock on the door of Number 10 Downing Street. It was an honour to be invited to Number 10 to meet the Prime Minister, his wife and other senior officials along with industry leaders whilst playing Smash Bros!.

What kinds of career opportunities are available within the Esports industry?

Many of our Esports students are looking to progress into careers in game design and development, shoutcasting, content creation or coaching and leading Esports teams. They’re not all looking to be professional players, and appreciate the range of skills they’re developing that could lead to many diverse roles.

What does the future hold for the Esports Industry?

The Esports industry is set to continue its rapid growth and popularity; with more and more teams being formed, bigger and better tournaments and events, and new players creating content and reaching audiences. It is important that events like today are promoted to increase awareness that this is a popular industry and will soon become bigger than the music and film industry combined.

Following your recent successes, what are your plans for the Esports Team at New College?

We will be looking for talented players of Overwatch2, Valorant, Rocket League, Smash Bros, Fifa and more from across the College in September 2023 so that we can enter teams in more national competitions against other schools and colleges, as well as offering more opportunities for learners across the College to come and play in our Esports lab. The College will also be offering a new Level 1 qualification in Esports, along with developing a HND in Esports to ensure everyone can study Esports up to degree level.

In April 2020, British Esports and Pearson introduced the very first BTEC qualification in Esports, something we offer right here at New College Swindon.