The Education column with East Riding College: Are you ready for the Esports revolution?

With 81% of children playing video games online nowadays, gaming is a large part of many children’s lives.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 9:53 am
The East Riding College campus at St Mary’s Walk in Bridlington.
The East Riding College campus at St Mary’s Walk in Bridlington.

With gaming on the rise, and as the gaming industry grows and develops, it is of great interest to many young people as a potential career option – but how do you get into gaming professionally?

The future of gaming is Esports, or competitive gaming, and East Riding College are training people to be at the forefront of the industry by teaming up with the British Esports Association to offer a qualification in Esports, taking young people’s interest in competitive gaming beyond a hobby and into a career.

I can understand parents’ cynicism about the idea of playing video games as a viable career option for their child – wishful thinking, right? But no, the Esports industry is a booming global industry.

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The vice principal of East Riding College Neil Waterhouse.

In the UK it is the second most popular sporting activity for boys to watch onscreen – second only to football. Esports is competitive human vs human gaming, with a spectator element, and fans supporting their favourite team or player, just like traditional sports. Tournaments are usually held at amateur and professional level and consist of individual gamers or teams competing against each other for cash prizes, that can reach millions of pounds at international level.

Matches can be viewed online or even in person at a venue.

Career options in Esports extend well beyond just playing. The qualification offered at East Riding College gives students a broad insight into the different types of job roles available in the industry, whether that’s coaching, commentary, management, content creation or events.

An Esports qualification will involve learning many skills. From communication to teamwork and time management, there’s a whole host of transferable skills that can be used in a range of professions, not just in Esports, the games industry or entertainment industries. Esports shares skills with business, sports, creative media, IT and coding. The qualification the college offers can provide progression to other specialist qualifications.

As for concerns over the online nature of Esport, research that took place at Glebe School in Bromley found that pupils playing in esports tournaments at school said it boosted their mental health, acted as a stress-reliever and helped them with their social skills.

Again, I understand parents’ concerns about their child pursuing a qualification in something seen as more of a pastime, and not a very healthy one at that. I can assure you that the qualification, developed in partnership with Pearson (BTEC) and British Esports is a rigorous and challenging course. It covers everything from planning and streaming tournaments; presenting and pitching ideas; designing e-sports games to health and well-being for players! At its core, it holds the concept of preparing young people for the working world.

Through practical activities and occupationally relevant assessments, students will gain the skills and behaviours needed for sustainable employment, inside or outside the Esports industry. The course is available from September 2022 and lasts one year.