TIGA, the trade association representing the video games industry, has written to ministers and submitted a formal consultation response calling for the funding to be retained and enhanced.
The Department for Education is proposing to remove funding for post-16 Applied General Qualifications (AGQs) as part of its review of post-16 qualifications at level 3 (A-Level or equivalent). In its response to the consultation and letters to the Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills and Minister for Digital and Culture, TIGA outlined the following points:
- Funding for post-16 Applied General Qualifications (AGQs) should not be removed simply because there is an A-Level or T-Level ‘alternative’.
- Removing funding for pathways other than A-Levels and T-Levels will impose a binary system which could damage the talent pipeline for the video games industry and wider creative sectors.
- Current AGQs allow students to gain practical skills in design and development such as storyboarding, 3D modelling, animating, rendering, illustrating, coding and sound and motion capture. These are all important for the video games industry.
- England’s and the UK’s education system needs to be flexible to adapt to the changing needs of industry and employers.
- Reducing the pathways available to students will constrain the system’s ability to design and implement new qualifications at the rate that new roles are required.
TIGA’s membership includes universities and education providers and TIGA’s accreditation scheme appraises higher education video games courses to ensure that students are able to gain games industry relevant skills. Data from TIGA’s university members highlights the importance of AGQs for the industry’s talent pipeline:
- The majority of students on some video games university courses were educated to BTEC level.
- In the case of one games course provided by a university, approximately 80 per cent of their video games students were qualified to BTEC level prior to university.
- Data from another university member shows that more than half of students on their Games Design and Games Software Engineering courses arrived at university with a BTEC. The proportion of BTEC-educated students is particularly high in the case of their Games Design course, which requires more practical design skills.
- Dr Richard Wilson OBE, CEO of TIGA said:
“The UK’s video games sector is one of the most successful in the world. It provides employment for high-skilled individuals and a large part of its success is because of a pipeline of skilled and talented people.
“The proposal to remove funding for pathways other than A-Levels and T-Levels is unnecessarily restrictive and could potentially reduce the supply of talented people available to work in the video games industry and other creative sectors. The funding for Applied General Qualifications should be retained and enhanced to bolster the supply of talent to contribute to the UK’s thriving video games sector and other creative industries.”
 See https://tiga.org/education/tiga-university-accreditation