Game on: Dundee and Angus schools prepare for Esports revolution

AS plans for Scotland’s first bespoke world-leading multi-purpose Esports arena gather speed, a partnership to kickstart new skills and careers is accelerating in Dundee and Angus.

Dundee and Angus College, one of the education partners in the planned state-of-the-art arena heading to Dundee’s Slessor Gardens, has teamed up with Esports Scotland, Scotland’s leading Esports event company, and become the first college in Scotland to secure an industry partner for the sector. The collaboration promises to generate countless opportunities for students and school pupils from tournaments, industry talks, summer boot camps to a suite of new courses, work placements and job opportunities.  Esports Scotland will also have its own Esports Training facility within the Gardyne Campus.

Esports is competitive gaming, either by individuals or teams. In this rapidly-growing sport, teams often compete for multi-million-pound prize pots.  The Esports industry has been growing rapidly in recent years, both in viewership and revenue, with the global market expected to reach £1.3bn this year.

In conjunction with Esports Scotland, the college is creating a range of full-time courses, talks and activities for both students and local school pupils. Central to that aim, the College and Esports Scotland have today announced the launch of the Dundee and Angus Regional Esports Cup, aiming to engage both Dundee and Angus College students and local senior school pupils in Esports.  Open for registration from Wednesday 23 March 2022, teams will compete in a live playoff of ‘Rocket League’ during a tournament later this year.  As well as competing for the prestigious Cup, pupils will develop a variety of soft skills, from stronger communication and collaboration to critical thinking and teamwork. Teams will be supported and mentored by Esports Scotland throughout the process.

Esports has already been incorporated into the College’s course portfolio, with plans to build upon this offering as the industry evolves. There are also plans to offer an HNC and HND in Esports from January 2023. The College and Esports Scotland are also working on a progression pathway from introduction through to degree level, where college graduates will complete years three and four at Abertay University.

The College’s expertise in Esports has not gone unnoticed in the further education sector, with the organisation recently being appointed lead collaborating partner of the Scottish Colleges Consortium of Esports.

Simon Hewitt, Principal, Dundee and Angus College, said, “The burgeoning growth of the competitive games industry, coupled with Dundee’s planned multi-million pound Esports arena, spark a multitude of economic and employment opportunities for our region.  Our ambitious digital strategy and proven track record in digital innovation put us at the heart of this exciting landscape, so we’re delighted to be teaming up with Esports Scotland to build long-term engagement in Esports locally and prepare our learners for the career opportunities ahead.”

Focused on the facilitation and growth of Esports across Scotland, Esports Scotland Founder and CEO James Hood believes it is essential for the college and the industry to work hand-in-hand.

James said, “As with physical sports, Esports teams have coaches, psychologists, managers, events teams, the lot. There are also lots of disciplines with sports creating their own communities. But of course, not everyone who gets into Esports will become, or aspire to be, the next Andy Murray or Andy Robertson – the industry, including the new Dundee arena, will need a broader workforce to support and future-proof Esports, from broadcasters and coaches to events and digital marketing experts.  And to those younger pupils, I’ve been a gamer all of my life and fortunate to make a career out of it, so I’m extremely passionate about making Esports accessible to all and connecting people and communities, regardless of their background. The future has never looked better for Esports, and we can’t wait to build awareness and engagement across communities, building momentum, skills and real excitement at a school level for the career opportunities ahead.”

Northern Lights Arena Europe (NLAE) plans to unveil the world-leading multi-purpose 4,000-capacity esports venue at Dundee Waterfront in 2025. The company is working in partnership with Esports Scotland on the delivery of the digital arena.

Luc Delany, Chief Operating Officer, Northern Lights Arena Europe, said: “Esports have the potential to build life-long digital skills and fluency, kickstarting job opportunities and boosting the wider economy which is key for future generations. Education is at the heart of NLAE’s mission. Our digital arena, which is due to open at Dundee Waterfront in 2025, will not only provide a world-class venue, but will create an eco-system establishing education pathways to form long-term sustainable employment opportunities and skills development for Dundee.  We look forward to continuing our work with Esports Scotland and Dundee and Angus College in the lead up to 2025 and beyond, to further cement the relationship between Esports and education.”

To learn more about the Dundee and Angus Regional Esports Cup, parents and teachers are invited to attend the first online webinar on Wednesday 23 March 2022.

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