Enterprise M3 (EM3), an enterprise partnership that combines private- and public-sector companies, has invested in an esports training facility at Queen Mary’s College in Basingstoke.
EM3 has committed to investing £228,000 towards the facility’s total cost of £460,000.
According to the release, the facility is expected to provide up to 80 young people a year the opportunity to develop the specialised digital skills needed to ‘ensure this hugely successful area of the digital games and entertainment industry continues to grow’.
The investment is in line with EM3’s newly published Skills Action Plan, which includes a framework to provide new training in high-tech and specialist digital sectors — including gaming.
News also recently broke that a new education faculty and 1,500-seater esports arena is being proposed in Bristol for South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, highlighting the UK’s shift towards esports- and gaming-related facilities.
“EM3’s Skills Action Plan has identified the provision of digital skills as a priority area of investment, so we are really proud to have partnered with QMC to fund this ground-breaking facility,” commented Sam Read, EM3’s Sector Specialist in Games and Immersive Tech. “Young people will find the skills they develop here to be applicable to the esports industry of the future, but also transferable to other areas of our local economy.
“This project is another example of how the LEP is supporting and strengthening the sector with the provision of skills for the future.”
James Fraser-Murison, Director of Learning at Queen Mary’s College, said on the investment: “We are delighted with the grant from EM3 and hope this firmly puts us on the map for leading this contemporary, engaging and vital course for an ever-increasing, global industry. This building will have state-of-the-art teaching and gaming facilities thanks to our global partnership with HP, Belong Gaming Arenas and YoYoTech and allow us to be the leading esports provider for post-16 education in the south of England.”
Esports Insider says: Schools in the UK are gradually announcing more and more esports- and gaming-related offerings, from learning courses and scholarships to facilities and initiatives. The UK has been lagging behind the likes of Denmark and Sweden in terms of esports infrastructure for a while — never mind South Korea and China. While remaining cautious of an overstatement, these are the investments it will take to develop a strong esports ecosystem.