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Next generation of Leamington video game designers inspired by giants of town’s games industry

The next generation of video game designers in Leamington heard about the incredible possibilities right on their doorstep from some of the biggest names in the sector at a one-day conference.

Students at Warwickshire College University Centre (WCUC) – part of college group WCG – heard from giants of Leamington’s game industry past and present at its ‘Let’s Talk Games’ event around the history of the industry in the town, emerging technology in the business, and what working in the sector involves.

The dozens in attendance also heard from an all-female panel of WCUC alumni who have gone on to have successful careers working for games companies in Leamington.

The event was opened by Matt Western, MP for Warwick & Leamington, who praised the strength of the sector in Leamington by citing the 2,000 employees in the industry and the 35-plus companies all based in the town.

The audience then heard from a variety of key figures working in the games industry in Leamington, including Leamington games industry gaming pioneers Philip and Andrew Oliver, Jason Garlick of EA, David Paris of Playground Games, Lucia Pigoli of Sumo Leamington, Joe Taylor of Rebellion North and  a selection of character artists from Ubisoft Leamington.

Finally, the panel of WCUC alumni from Leamington based companies such as Digi Monsters, AtomHawk, Reality+, Excalibur Games, and Geometa discussed how they got into the industry, and what more can be done to promote the industry as a viable career path for young women.

Emily Evans, Central Art Manager at Reality+ said: “When I was younger, there wasn’t really an option of doing courses in video games and 3D art. So I focused on science and maths but I didn’t really enjoy them.

“It was only later in my career that I saw WCUC was offering courses in Games Art, which was perfect for me. Now, I’m in a fantastic role with Reality+.

“There’s so many more options for women now. Many who used to go into graphic design are now working in video game design, which is brilliant.”

And Amber Silcock, Associate Producer at Excalibur Games, added: “I’d also advise women to be confident in their abilities and apply for jobs in the industry – even if they only hit a few of the job requirements. They’ll still have a lot of skills that the sector really values.”

Angela Joyce, CEO of WCG, said: “Leamington truly is a hotbed of innovation when it comes to video games, and our students at WCUC are brilliantly placed to make their own way in this ever-growing industry.

“It was a privilege for the students to hear from some of the many incredible programmers, artists and developers we have here in Leamington about the sector, and we hope it will inspire them to achieve fantastic things for themselves as they study with us and later graduate.

“And while the games industry was male-dominated in the past, that is changing rapidly. Our all-female panel of alumni showed gender is no barrier to success in the industry.

“WCUC is a highly-respected education centre for games art and the wider Creative Technologies sector, showcasing exceptional industry connections which help guide students into employment within the games industry.

“Events like Let’s Talk Games are a brilliant way for WCUC students to hear from those in the sector and spark their drive to succeed.”

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CAPTION – The WCUC alumni with Angela Joyce who took part in a panel discussion around getting into the games industry. From left: Chloe Smith, Leanne Reed, Emily Evans, Amber Silcock, Catherine Sabine, and Angela Joyce

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