TIGA, the network for game developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the video games industry, has welcomed accelerated degrees as a way to attract more mature students into higher education.
In its response to the Department for Education consultation Accelerated degrees: widening student choice in higher education, TIGA pointed out that mature students are more likely to study STEM subjects including Computer Science and video games degree courses, which is positive for the industry. Increasing the number of STEM and Computer Science graduates is essential for the future of the video games industry, which depends on highly skilled workers to create ground-breaking new games and compete on a global level.
Accelerated degrees offer the same qualifications and are quality-assured in the same way as a standard degree, but delivered over a shorter, usually two-year timespan. Providers already offering accelerated degrees report a number of benefits, such as more engaged students, positive employer feedback and the opportunity to attract a wider pool of applicants, including mature students who often want to retrain and enter the workplace more quickly.
For employers, individuals who have retrained are often especially valuable. They can bring fresh perspectives and ideas gained from their previous careers.
However, TIGA also emphasised the following points:
- the option of accelerated degrees should be targeted primarily at mature students and the norm for most first degrees should still be traditional three or four year courses;
- independent learning should be emphasised during an accelerated degree, as skills such as problem solving and the ability to work independently are valued by employers;
- university research capacity should not be impaired by a more intense teaching schedule;
- accelerated degrees should ensure that students have time to undertake internships and part-time work, which should help them to develop workplace skills before graduating.
Dr Richard Wilson OBE, Chief Executive Officer of TIGA, said:
“TIGA welcomes accelerated degrees as they could potentially attract mature students who are more likely to study STEM subjects, such as Computer Science. Having the option of studying for a less expensive, less time-consuming degree could encourage more people to retrain and reskill which in turn could help to boost productivity and reduce skills shortages.
“The video games industry depends on highly skilled graduates to compete on a global level. We welcome sensible measures that will encourage more people to study subjects relevant to the video games industry in order to enable our industry to maintain its world leading position.
“TIGA will continue to work with the Government on education policy to ensure its members have a pipeline of talented individuals with the right skills.” Never Too Late To Learn: Mature Students in Higher Education, May 2012, link