A campaign by leading figures from the VFX and gaming industries has prompted the government to pledge to overhaul the teaching of ICT and computer science.
The lack of properly trained students has been raised as one of the biggest threats to the UK’s growing VFX industry, with Double Negative managing director Alex Hope spearheading the fight for a curriculum that is more suited to the needs of the VFX and gaming industries.
Hope said current ICT training did not provide a deep enough understanding of how computers work, which he described as the difference between learning to read and learning to write.
Earlier this week, the government said it “recognised that the current ICT programme is insufficiently rigorous and in need of reform”.
It pledged to support recommendations by Hope and Eidos president Ian Livingstone’s Next Gen review, which calls for an “industry-relevant” computer science course within the National Curriculum, and for ICT skills to be embedded across the wider curriculum.
The campaign to push computer science higher up the educational agenda has been supported by facilities trade body UK Screen and creative industries training body Skillset.
UK Screen acting chief executive Sarah Mackey told Broadcast: “As an industry, we are continually competing with South Africa, Canada and Hungary to win big projects for the UK, and to do that we need to prove we have access to the skills productions need.”
Mackey called for more UK Screen members to get involved in Stemnet, an ambassador scheme designed to encourage the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which is supported by VFX firms Double Negative, Framestore and The Mill.