Despite the games industry contributing to around half of the UK’s £4bn entertainment market, there is currently no apprenticeship model to make a career in games more accessible. We're raising funds to change that.
In 2019 alone, the games industry contributed over £3 billion to the UK economy - more than the film and music industry combined. There are nearly fifty thousand roles in the wider industry - with over 20000 in development alone.
This massive industry presents an incredible opportunity to provide thousands of jobs at a time when many young people are uncertain about what the future holds. But as a new and fast-moving industry with many systemic issues, built by a small number of powerful people -this potential is lost.
- The industry consists of only 28% women - one of the lowest in the creative sector.
- Only 10% are from Black, Asian and minority ethnicity backgrounds - this is skewed even further in senior positions.
- Not only is there no data around the number of those with a disability hired in the industry, there are zero roles in accessibility - to create games that everyone can play and enjoy.
- 90% of the industry are educated to degree level, creating a socio-economic barrier greater than architecture.
The future of the world of work is digital - and in order to create equal opportunities for the millions of young people entering an ever-changing and dynamic jobs market, action needs to be taken.
For many 16–19 year olds, a lack of careers advice, pastoral support and financial exclusion makes pathways like university inaccessible, and non-inclusive hiring practices in the industry perpetuates this.
People from poorer socio-economic backgrounds are less likely to progress into higher-wage fields, or further into leadership roles. They are therefore less likely to improve significantly on their standard of living. Apprenticeships offer a superb opportunity to all learners, providing clear progression routes and opportunities. In the long-term individuals with an advanced apprenticeship earn between £77,000 and £117,000 more over their lifetime
However, apprenticeship positions are increasingly being given to those with undergraduate degrees, taking paid, practical learning opportunities away from those who would benefit most. 70 – 90% of apprenticeships in technology are taken up by men, and white applicants are twice as likely to succeed in their application than people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.
12% of the games industry workforce attended an independent or fee-paying school, which is nearly double the national average of 7%. This figure rises to 20% of the workforce amongst directors and CEOs. Young women and those from BAME backgrounds are severely underrepresented in the sector - meaning many young people with aspirations to work in an industry they love have inadequate support, a lack of inspiring role models, and an unequal system that favours the privileged.
The games industry has never been bigger. Despite understandable disruption due to COVID-19, the games industry has seen major growth globally as more of us turn to the communicative and collaborative power of games during lockdown.
Internet providers have seen a 75% increase in those gaming online during lockdown - and both physical and digital game sales have seen a steep rise. In the UK, due in part to the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, physical game sales have seen a week-on-week rise of up to 218% - over 1.2 million in sales weekly.
With many studios around the UK already utilising remote working practices due to its digital-based production, the games industry has continued largely unchanged. Major UK studios are actively hiring and expanding their teams - this presents an immediate opportunity to provide sustainable and future-proofed employment for young people entering a dwindling jobs market.
- Initiatives such as Ukie's Raise the Game diversity pledge has placed increased pressure on the industry to improve representation among its workforce - and to seek out fresh, young creative talent through far-reaching and inclusive hiring practices.
- The fanfare release of The Last of Us II in June has shown the importance of accessibility features in a major release - its creators working closely with accessibility consultants throughout the game's development. Studios are actively seeking a better understanding of accessibility in games - to cater for an oft-unheard, yet significant audience of gamers worldwide.
As many young people's futures are filled with uncertainty, there has never been a greater time to harness the potential of a growing industry - to provide new and exciting pathways for thousands of young people in an arts sector otherwise struggling to survive.
Platform is the only apprenticeship program for the games industry. By supporting young people from underrepresented groups into games, we're training to develop the next generation of diverse games talent.
As the world’s first organisation to provide games-specific accessibility training, Platform are aiming to up-skill the next generation of games industry professionals, not to mention satisfying a growing need in the industry to cater for the 20% of gamers worldwide who live with a disability.
By hiring our apprentices as part of a cohort-driven, supported program, we can break down the barriers faced by many young people entering the world of work.
Every year, a fresh cohort of apprentices will be placed in games industry roles at leading UK games companies - learning valuable and industry desirable skills in Marketing, Events, Content Production, and Accessibility. We work with apprenticeship providers who share our social mission, to provide high-impact learnings to a diverse intake of apprentices.
We support all of our apprentices through bursaries to subsidise the cost of travel, resources, and expensive industry hardware.
We pair all our apprentices with a diverse faculty of experienced games mentors who understand the difficulties of being part of an underrepresented group, in an industry with deep social, racial, and gender inequalities.
To ensure our cohort stay on the cutting edge of the industry, we provide a budget for apprentices to facilitate their own events - learning production skills and growing their valuable industry network.
All of this creates a tailored, supportive program that eliminates many of the barriers faced by young people - to unlock their potential and slingshot them into long-term, rewarding careers in games.
Your donations will be used to directly support our first small cohort of games industry apprentices - so we can offer vital services such as paying for travel costs, resources, pastoral care, and apprentice-led networking events. This will ensure we can refine our high-impact program and deliver support that caters for the multi-faceted and complex needs of the young people we work with.
In the long-term, as we grow and expand our cohorts of apprentices across the UK, income from industry clients will sustain our program. Your support means that we can offer our tailored, overarching program from day one as we continue to learn and understand the needs of our apprentices.
With our target amount of £10000, we can support a cohort of ten apprentices into long-term roles in the games industry - providing these crucial services to every young person we work with:
- An experienced games industry mentor who can offer 1-to-1 support and act as a regular sounding board through messaging platform Slack.
- Pastoral care - through partnerships with BFB Labs to provide NHS-approved wellbeing games that teach valuable mindfulness exercises, as well as bespoke personal development sessions when needed.
- Travel cost bursaries for apprentices from low-income backgrounds.
- Games industry tools for project management and games design such as HacknPlan or GameMaker Studio 2.
- Hardware grants for apprentices from low-income backgrounds to subsidise the cost of an industry-ready games laptop.
Become a Supporter of Platform through a donation of £25
- This will support an apprentices monthly software and materials costs - to ensure they have the digital tools necessary for their role.
- As a supporter, we will created a tailored promotional social media post, celebrating your individual contribution to our campaign.
Become a Backer of Platform through a donation of £100
- This will support the monthly travel costs of a London-based apprentice from a low-income background.
- As a backer, we will feature your organisation's logo on our website - as a thank you for your generous support of Platform
Become a Friend of Platform through a donation of £250
- A donation of £250 will greatly subsidise the cost of a high-powered games computer for an apprentice from a low-income background.
- As a Friend of Platform, we will actively post about your organisation's support on our social media, feature your logo on our website, and write a promotional article on your contribution and support of our campaign.
I have developed Platform over the last twelve months having worked closely with disadvantaged young people over the UK.
Having worked on the ground at schools and colleges in some of the most deprived areas in the country, I learned the importance of personalised, tailored support for young people eager to discover a role in games.
As the Partnerships Lead at non-profit Into Games, I work closely every day with the games industry, educators, and young people to provide opportunities that help bridge the gap between education and the games industry.
Platform is the culmination of this work - and of my passion to support underrepresented people into an industry we both care dearly about.
NB: A 4.75% levy will be applied to donations, to help cover TFN/Year Here's costs of supporting venture fundraising and administering the funding.