Lockdown is leading to thousands of people trying new activities at home – with esports among the hobbies finding more and more fans. But experts believe this is only the latest boost for an industry that is already growing significantly, and from September, students across the UK will be able to study a BTEC in esports for the first time.
Cindy Rampersaud, senior vice-president of BTEC and apprenticeships at Pearson, said the launch of the new qualification was a real recognition that the world is changing.
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She said: “There are new careers emerging and we need to adapt the curriculum and learning to make sure it’s relevant for where young people and adults are going to progress going forward.
Esports 'is a massive industry'
“The esports industry is massive. It is a way that young people engage with each other and colleges already have events up and down the country which are about people coming together to watch esports. And actually, there is a whole infrastructure around that: it’s about helping students think about the different careers involved in the industry.”
Pearson and British Esports said the esports industry is rapidly growing across the world as people both participate competitively in online gaming and gather in their hundreds of thousands to watch others do so.
They say the industry is worth $1.1billion at the moment, and has seen a year-on-year growth of 16 per cent, with the number of those who watch esports set to rise to 495 million globally.
The new level 3 esports qualification consists of 20 units, including enterprise and entrepreneurship, strategy and analysis, events management, live-streamed broadcasting, video production, shoutcasting, coaching, health and wellbeing, the law and legislation, computer networking and more.
The courses were developed with input from experts with the sector, including employers, professional body representatives, university and further education lecturers and teachers.
The curriculum follows a modular approach, allowing learners and adults to complete short courses in the areas they are interested in, said Rampersaud.
She added: “If people come out of coronavirus and adopt this approach of working from home, there will be more learning online, more entrepreneurship and more business start-ups. We know coming out this will be tough for many people. So for many people being able to dip in and do short courses allows them to build on skills. It’s really about enabling and empowering people.”
Andy Payne, British Esports Association chair, said: “Esports is a growing, exciting industry that many young people are looking at with interest and it’s important they have the opportunity to unlock their potential and be the leaders of tomorrow. The industry is still finding its feet, but with big names like Pearson coming on board to bring learning and curriculum design expertise, this bodes well for the future workforce.
“These qualifications are a unique development that can elevate esports education in the UK and around the world.
“We have taken our time to ensure the qualifications are as comprehensive and high-quality as possible, in order to provide students with a valuable qualification that will give them the knowledge and skills they need to pursue a career in esports, video games, tech or other related sectors.”