Manchester’s resurgent video games industry is set for a major boost as Access to Games opens a new £1 million gaming college.
The games industry is the fastest growing creative sector in the world, contributing over £4 billion to the UK’s economy in 2016.
Access to Games – a branch of Access to Music – is investing £1m in the latest software, facilities and industry teaching talent at the college, which will be headed up by 24-year-old Mikael Hellberg.
Hellberg is a seasoned game developer from Sweden, who will be overseeing the development of their games courses in a creative and collaborative environment from the Access to Games centre on Hulme Street in the heart of Manchester city centre.
“Manchester’s games and tech sector competes on a global level,” Hellberg said.
“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 development of a real ecosystem.
“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.”
Playdemic CEO Paul Gouge told the audience at our recent video games event that the Manchester scene is ‘bubbling up nicely’ again.
While independent developer Prospect Games highlighted the importance of forming partnerships through networking after releasing its new game on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Access to Games is a privately owned college, with courses free for students aged 16-23. It currently trains more than 250 students in Manchester and more than 2,000 across the UK.
Access to Games offers specialised, industry-led pathways in games design starting in September 2017. From September 2018 they will also offer progression routes into Games Art & Technology and Animation & VFX.
Students can train for between one and two years and gain a nationally recognised B-Tech qualification extended Diploma in Creative Media Production.
Jason Beaumont, director of business development, commented: “Access to Games is part of Access to Music a national creative college now celebrating its 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.”