Games art degree course in Leamington Spa hailed by industry skills body

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A games art degree course taught in the heart of ‘Silicon Spa’ has been accredited by the industry-led skills body for the screen industries.

Royal Leamington Spa College’s foundation and bachelor degrees in Games Art have been awarded ScreenSkills Select accreditation.

ScreenSkills is the industry-led skills body for the screen industries – film, television (including children’s, unscripted and high-end), VFX (visual effects), animation and games.

The college is one of only eight institutions in the country to have the ScreenSkills Games badge and is the only college to have received the accreditation, with the others all being universities or training schools.

Royal Leamington Spa College, part of WCG (formerly Warwickshire College Group), is based in one of the UK’s hotspots for video game development – with a range of high-profile developers based in the area.

In 2019 more than 60 per cent of students on the Games Art degree went straight into employment, in recent years students have been employed by companies including Leamington Spa-based Playground Games, Banbury-based Excalibur Games, Oxford-based Exient and Pixel Toys, which is also based in Leamington Spa.

By receiving the ScreenSkills accreditation it provides a new link for students on the degree to BAFTA Games and an opportunity to apply for a BAFTA scholarship covering up to £12,000 of their course fees.

Other benefits include employability training events, industry insight sessions, Royal Television Society Bursaries and priority booking to ScreenSkills entry level events.

It will also present opportunities to apply for Trainee Finder, a year-long industry-funded schemes that places trainee in paid placements on productions that contribute to ScreenSkills skills funds.

WCG has recently been awarded Bachelor Degree Awarding Powers and will now be delivering a full three-year BA Games Art degree from Royal Leamington Spa College.

The courses at the college received praise from ScreenSkills for its industry-based modules and modules which require students to work to briefs from local games studios.

Mike Acosta, Subject Leader Foundation Degree/BA Games Art at Royal Leamington Spa College, said: “It’s incredibly rewarding for our courses to be recognised in this way and the ScreenSkills accreditation will bring many benefits to our students.

“Our courses are always popular and being based in Leamington and surrounded by some of the country’s top games studios is a huge benefit for us.

“We place huge importance on building relationships with local employers and that has played a major part in receiving this accreditation, as our Games Art courses train students in the skills needed by the industry today.

“The ScreenSkills accreditation will help us to further build on our industry links with the support of BAFTA Games.”

Steve Stopps, Development Director at Banbury-based Excalibur Games, praised the Games Art courses at the college and the calibre of talent it produces.

“I have been supporting the courses at the college for 10 years and the team at Leamington has always placed industry needs at the centre of their work,” he said.

“The passion for continuous development is probably why they are so well supported by the region’s major studios.

“We recently recruited a student in a commercial role at Excalibur Games and they have been outstanding, showing strong levels of professionalism, great interpersonal skills, and a deeper understanding of the games industry than you would normally expect from a graduate.”

Applications for the BAFTA scholarships are open until May 26.