TIGA Responds to Skills Review
Tuesday, 01 February 2011 10:38
TIGA, the trade association representing the UK games industry, today said that it was crucial that higher education institutions provide good quality data about the employment destination of graduates from games courses and other disciplines relevant to the video games industry. TIGA made the comments in response to the Livingstone-Hope Skills Review of Video Games and Visual Effects which was published today.
Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO stated: “The Livingstone-Hope Skills Review makes some important suggestions for raising the profile of the video games sector in schools and for further enhancing the quality of education and skills formation; and NESTA have typically produced another fine piece of research. The report includes measures that TIGA has long espoused, including measures to attract the best teachers into schools, the use of video games to promote the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects, and support for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.
“TIGA particularly welcomes the proposal requiring higher education institutions to provide good quality data about the employment destination of graduates from games courses and other disciplines relevant to the video games industry. In the future market forces will operate in a more pronounced way in higher education following the Coalition Government’s decision to raise tuition fees. In these circumstances, students will naturally want to know how a degree will help them in the job market. Equally, it will be critical for education providers to demonstrate what paths their graduates take on completion of their studies. Typically higher education providers will want to show that their graduates have a high propensity to achieve ‘graduate’ level employment or continue with further study.
“Other measures in the Review, such as the proposal that Computer Science should be made part of the National Curriculum, are appealing. The Review’s emphasis on encouraging the study of art and computer science is sensible. TIGA would like to see the Coalition Government enable more schools to offer the highly respected International Baccalaureate as a way of achieving this objective.
“The Review does not directly address the issue of higher education funding or the use of incentives to encourage the study of specific subjects. The UK spends just 1.3 per cent of GDP on higher education compared to countries such as Canada, South Korea and the USA, who spend between 2.5 per cent and 2.9 per cent of GDP. Other things being equal, if the UK is to have a highly skilled workforce then we must increase investment in higher education. Additionally, the Government could consider intervening in the higher education market to ensure that the cost of mathematics and computer science degrees is competitively priced to promote the study of these subjects.
“Ultimately, the UK video games industry competes on the quality of its workforce – which is excellent – and the tax environment. Measures to strengthen the supply of high quality people available to work in the games industry are important. However, if the Coalition Government ignores the fact that many of our overseas competitors offer substantial tax breaks for video games production, then overseas investment will shy away from the UK, irrespective of the quality of our workforce.”
Jason Kingsley, TIGA Chairman and CEO and Creative Director of Rebellion, said:
“Our industry needs a highly skilled workforce to compete. Although we have a world class workforce, steps to increase the potential supply of skilled people available to join the UK development workforce are needed. This Review makes some useful recommendations, including the need to promote computer science teaching in schools, encouraging the study of STEM subjects via video games and the need for good quality data on graduate employment.
“However, the Coalition Government must remember that skills are just one part of the competitiveness equation. Just as we need a highly skilled workforce, so we need a supportive tax environment in order to compete successfully in world markets. If the Government is to avoid the spectre of the UK educating and training first class game developers who are then lured to work in Canada by businesses funded by substantial tax breaks, then it must introduce Games Tax Relief and make the existing R&D tax credits much more generous and effective.”