FEATURE Northampton College


ahead in the careers game

Fancy netting a six-fi gure salary by playing FIFA on your Xbox? Could your Call of Duty skills help you rake in a fortune on PlayStation? Computer games are big business and Northampton College is playing a pioneering role in finding the next breakout star of eSports. The college is one of 72 across the country

involved in the launch of the fi rst-ever BTEC in eSports as competitive gaming continues to gain traction in the mainstream and evolve as a genuine career choice for the next generation of highly skilled gamers. With most American colleges now having their

own eSports courses and teams and all Premier League sides also having gamers representing their football clubs, the course will enable students to gain knowledge and skills in an ever- growing area. They will have the opportunity to compete

nationally and also develop an understanding of digital marketing, fundraising and event management – with the ultimate aim of seeing Northampton gamers at the forefront of the eSports revolution. Pat Brennan-Barrett, principal of Northampton

College, said: “We have a generation of students who are incredibly well versed in digital life. Gaming is no longer a hobby, it’s a genuine career choice and there is good money to be made for those who are early adopters and can spot a gap in the market. “T is course will look in-depth at the business side


of eSports, focusing on strategy, entrepreneurship, live-streamed broadcasting, video production and computer networking – it’s far more than simply playing games with your mates, it’s an opportunity to do something spectacular.” Televised FIFA tournaments starring

professional footballers and competitive gamers gained impressive viewing fi gures both on YouTube and Sky Sports during the initial COVID-19 lockdown when elite sports were suspended. T e burgeoning eSports industry is projected

to have generated revenues of more than £830m in 2020, equating to year-on-year growth of more than 16 per cent. T e total global eSports audience is set to rise 11.7 per cent to around 495 million people. T e eSports course will be one of the fl agship

programmes in Northampton College’s state-of- the-art Digital Academy – due to open in September this year. The Digital Academy, funded through the

South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) and the Local Growth Fund, aims to close digital skills gaps across the county and develop students’ basic IT competences. T e Digital Academy will enable students to

develop their skills from a basic to a specialist level, appropriate to their need. Digital spaces will encourage teams to network, create, plan and build. Entrepreneurship will be at the heart of the academy with programmers working alongside


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