Pearson and British Esports launch new Higher National BTEC Qualifications

14 March 2024

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Pearson x British Esports
Image credit: Pearson/British Esports

Educational services company Pearson and UK esports advocacy body Britsh Esports have announced the launch of new ‘internationally recognised’ esports qualifications.

The new Level 4 and Level 5 Higher National BTEC qualifications aim to offer a route into esports careers while providing learners with a range of transferable skills, the companies said.

ESI London 2024

The Level 4 Higher National Certificate (HNC) acts as the equivalent to the first year of an undergraduate degree, while the Level 5 Higher National Diploma (HND) is the equivalent of a second year undergraduate degree. Each aims to offer students ‘a clear progression pathway into the esports industry or wider creative industries’, Pearson and British Esports said in a release.

Students will also be taught a range of transferable skills and knowledge applicable to other digital and STEAM careers, the companies said. The 30-unit course will cover topics including esports management, coaching, and event production.

UK courses are set to begin in September 2024 while international centres have already begun to deliver the qualifications, British Esports and Pearson said. They claimed these were the first internationally recognised Higher National BTEC esports qualifications.

These new Level 4 and Level 5 courses follow on from the previous collaboration between Pearson and British Esports, which saw the pair release a Level 2 and Level 3 BTEC in Esports offering in 2020.

Kalam Neale, Head of Education at British Esports, commented on the announcement in a release: “When we partnered with Pearson four years ago to launch the world’s first Esports BTECs, we did so with the intention of creating a workforce well-prepared for the challenges and changes this fast-moving industry has seen.

“We’re proud to have launched the Higher Nationals in Esports that will continue to strengthen the workforce of the future, and provide students with greater options and accessibility when pursuing a career in esports or in other creative industries.”

There has been a proliferation of esports qualifications in recent years as educators attempt to leverage the benefits of esports in an educational setting. However, the new qualifications come amid the so-called ‘esports winter‘ and resulting concerns about career prospects in the esports industry, following record numbers of layoffs in late 2023 and early 2024.

Esports qualifications remain a divisive topic in the community with many still doubting the value of esports-focused qualifications. Sceptics have also highlighted issues around the difficulties of finding teachers with a credible esports background equipped to teach such courses.

Earlier in March, educational stakeholders gathered at Jesus College, University of Oxford for ESI Next Gen, a two day event that brought together leaders in the esports education space.

Lee Jones