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Posted on behalf of Claire at Futurelab….

Futurelab has been appointed as the UK National Coordinator for a pan-European study of the use of computer and video games in schools. Our Games and Learning project is a programme of research, events and planned publications intended to stimulate discussion and the development of new intelligence.

The overall aim is to demonstrate what challenges and opportunities have emerged from debates and developments in this field to date, and to identify practical actions and interventions to be taken forwards. We are looking to set up a network of educators interested in the project who would like to receive more information about our research.

If anyone is interested or would like to become involved, they can email me at claire.denney@futurelab.org.uk.

Drop me a line if any of these roles sound appealing (urgently need to be filled)

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Department:             Technology Strategy & Architecture
Title:                             Digital Content Engineering Manager
Reports to:                 Director of Engineering
Status:                          Permanent
Location:                     Dublin

 The Opportunity

The Digital Content Engineering Manager will build, manage and mentor a growing team of developers responsible for the delivery of a diverse set of content products. The Digital Content Engineering Manager will ensure that technology and product standards are defined and delivered, meeting business and client expectations. The Digital Content Engineering Manager will interact with Project Management, QA, IT and Product Management teams to establish development objectives and timelines, managing resources to support product deliverables. The Digital Content Engineering Manager will be responsible for determining the vision and execution thereof for a variety of interactive content products with a broad range of applications.  The Digital Content Engineering Manager will report directly to the Director of Engineering.

Contract Rate to contractor 400-500 per day. 3 Months rolling, expected to be a long term contract.

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Department: Technology Strategy & Architecture
Title: Senior Multimedia Developer
Reports to: Digital Content Engineering Manager
Status: Permanent/fixed term contract
Location: Dublin

The Opportunity

We are seeking a Flash Engineer with strong ActionScript knowledge and good design skills. Flash development projects will be Web-based online interactive programs, short Flash animations, presentations, and other dynamic Flash content which are integrated with a database or LMS for the capture of user responses. We are looking for someone with strong development skills and good creative talent. Ideally the candidate will have experience of managing out of house development teams while also working on internal projects.

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Department: Technology Strategy & Architecture
Title: Multimedia Manager
Reports to: Director of Engineering
Status: Permanent
Location: Dublin

The Opportunity

The Multimedia Manager will build, manage and mentor a growing team of developers responsible for the delivery of a diverse set of content products. The Multimedia Manager will ensure that technology and product standards are defined and delivered, meeting business and client expectations. The Multimedia Manager will interact with Project Management, QA, IT and Product Management teams to establish development objectives and timelines, managing resources to support product deliverables. The Multimedia Manager will be responsible for determining the vision and execution thereof for a variety of interactive content products with a broad range of applications. The Multimedia Manager will report directly to the Director of Engineering.

It was refreshing to see the Daily Mail taking a constructive stance on the game industry over the weekend, even if the issue at hand was not a positive one.

The article – in The Mail on Sunday – highlighted the fact there are now several dozen ‘video game’ degrees being offered by UK universities (over 80 I believe) but that only four of these are accredited by the industry sector skills council, SkillSet, resulting in a host of, as the Mail put it; “Mickey Mouse degrees with little job relevance.”

Having written about this subject previously and as some one who was involved in a small way in the SKillset initiative and as an external industry reviewer of one institution’s curriculum I find this depressing. The UK is poised to be churning out several thousand ‘game degree graduates’ each year for a UK industry that currently employs less than ten thousand people in all capacities. There are far too many universities which are mashing together existing computer science and creative modules together and marketing them as being relevant to the games industry. At the same time companies are crying out for talented, motivated and well-trained people and cannot fill key position…at least not without paying ridiculous salaries.

Employers need graduates with specialisms e.g in 3D modelling, mathematics, physics or script-writing. Universities are providing courses that cover practically every job function in the industry meaning that whilst graduates may have an appreciation of all the different roles, they are equipped for non of them and thus place a heavy responsibility on companies to provide a huge amount of training for new hires.

Whilst the remit of educational institutions is to ‘educate’ not to train (e.g. in specific software packages) – and we must not ignore this – it is painfully apparent that there is a gross mismatch in courses which are supposed to equip graduates with the skills they need to gain employment and the real world needs of employers in this sector.

Until this matter is resolved, thousands of motivated and talented young people face having their dreams dashed and many companies will struggle to be competitive. When you consider that the cost of undertaking a degree can be calculated at £100,000 through loss of income, fees and living costs and that employers will increasingly need to offshore work in order to deliver then clearly this situation is failing UK Plc and needs to be tackled urgently.

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