As a growing number of colleges and universities offer games-specific courses, one of the biggest challenges for academic institutions is to forge the sort of relationships with industry which can benefit their students – and lead to employment for their graduates.
Combined with the greatly reduced opportunities in games testing as a route into the games sector, it can be difficult for even the most talented graduates to get their first role in the games industry.
However, some institutions are looking beyond the usual guest speakers and recruitment events, at innovative ways to bring the academic world closer to the industry in very practical ways.
The most recent example of creative thinking comes from Dundee & Angus College and developer Terrier Studios. The company has recently opened a branch of the business within the college’s Gardyne campus.
Terrier has committed to a partnership with the college’s creative and digital industries department, guaranteeing student placements offering hands-on experience in app/games design and development.
A total of eight students have already been recruited to work with the company – after a rigorous recruitment process which saw 49 students from across the art, design, computing and creative media programmes , apply for a placement.
The successful applicants include: concept artists, 2D games artists & programmers and represent courses from non-advanced to degree level.
During their six-hour a week work placements the students will be involved in a range of projects undertaken by Terrier Studios, including three titles currently in development. Those students who contribute will be credited on the work while the D&A College logo will also appear among the credits.
Simon Hewitt, head of creative and digital industries at college, told us:
This is a fantastic opportunity for students of different levels and disciplines to get together in a real work environment – without leaving the college premises. It has always been extremely hard to ‘get into’ these games/digital media companies so forging this partnership is a real coup for the college. Terrier Studios has also committed to work with staff to help enhance and develop our own curriculum and will offer talks to the wider department about entrepreneurial skills and working within the creative industries.
Terrier Studios CEO William Hazle noted:
This is an exciting opportunity for Terrier Studios and D&A College to work together in focusing creativity to the specific needs of industry. The students will work with industry professionals and be involved at every step of the creative process.