Running a commercial games company with students is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done, helping them achieve their first commercial title, from concept to finished product, and released to the end user. Sharing that excitement with them is simply a humbling moment being a part of their first important steps into their professional careers.
Rizing Games has achieved some amazing milestones over the past 4 years, from exhibiting at E3 in 2014 and 2015, plus being the only student company there from Europe. Making amazing industry connections to help develop our product titles such as Unity and Sony PlayStation, as well as the amazing response and support from the media. Not to mention personally be honored with a BAFTA YGD Mentor nomination. How that happened I have no idea!
And to think all this is being done by 16-18 year olds from a little college based in Cambridge.
But it’s not all that plain sailing. If anything it’s a daily slog to be able to provide the learners with this key required industry experience. The UK Further Education system is all for encouraging this practice, and states more should be being done to provide ‘Real World’ experience and training, but not enough funding is being provided to help support enterprises such Rizing Games.
Additionally, industry establishments are keener to work University learners rather than FE learners, which is understandable, due to closer goal of working with and training future employees.
As a result, there is a lack of funding coming from industry and government to help develop the future gaming employees of the UK at FE level. Why start when they are at University? Surely we can develop a stronger skill set through the commercial industry funding and becoming actively involved with learners prior to University?
The reality is Rizing Games has been lucky by winning competitions to help fund the company to be able to apply industry business models. But should we be relying on luck? What about all the other FE establishments around the UK trying to set up similar enterprise models in gaming? We can’t all rely on winning competitions. And let’s face it; you can only win so many competitions.
Some areas of the gaming industry are opening up to working with FE, but more needs to be done rather than individuals such as myself banging on the door of the professionals begging to be heard. Apprenticeships are hard to come by, if almost non-existent for learners studying games development. As a result this is why Rizing Games exists and my persistence to set it up.
Could FE learners not rise to the challenge? I beg to differ; Rizing Games is proof of this. Give them the tools, the time and the support, and it’s amazing what they can achieve at a young age!
So this is my invite to the industry at Apps World London this November. Come see the Rizing Games learners on their stall, and experience the potential there is in working with the FE sector.